When the Houston Texans selected Jaelen Strong in the third round of the 2015 NFl Draft, questions arose quickly regarding why the potential 1st-rounder slid to them in the third round. It was a long process to get Strong on the field but when he received his opportunities, he did not disappoint. Appearing in 10 games, Strong had 14 receptions for 161 yards and 3 touchdowns, but what he he clearly demonstrated is that he has the ability to move the chains when he touches the ball.
It was not all easy sailing for Strong to get on the field and head coach Bill O’Brien noted that at the NFL Combine.
“He’s an interesting story to me,” said O’Brien of Strong. “He came into rookie minicamp right after the draft, after having really just basically trained for the combine and all the things that go into the draft process, and he was a little bit out of shape, little bit overweight.”
Strong came into rookie mini-camp at 231 lbs. and the extra weight slowed him down. He could not finish a practice without a small tissue injury. During OTAs, he only completed two of the ten practice sessions due a strained hamstring, which created some doubt on who Strong was as a player. The weight issues directly affected his play on the field; he could not catch the ball consistently, much less beat any defender one-on-one.
O’Brien continued, “You know we mentioned it to him a few times, and he really took it upon himself to get in better condition, to lose weight, to learn our offense.”
Strong reported back to training camp at 217 lbs. and put together a solid camp, missing no days. Then, during the season, he got his weight down to 211 lbs. and that instantly put him back on the field making plays late in the season.
Even O’Brien appreciated the work Strong put in. “…by the end of the year he was playing pretty well for us and we believe that he has a really good future for us.”