Carson Strong Pre-NFL Draft Profile
University of Nevada Reno quarterback Carson Strong is a solid NFL prospect who excels as a pocket passer. Strong is not the most athletic quarterback in the draft class. Still, Strong does provide a lively arm and excellent pocket presence that will allow him to step right into a starting job and be a solid starter who could provide fantasy value, especially in Superflex leagues. Strong is a prototypical NFL quarterback who brings the size, mental ability, and arm strength to be a starter for many years.
Carson Strong has been an accurate quarterback as the Wolf Pack starter throughout his three years. His career completion percentage is 68.1%, the 17th best percentage in the NCAA since 1956 and the second-best all-time in the Mountain West conference, trailing only Derek Carr, who had a 68.2% career completion percentage.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Strong's greatest strength is his arm strength and accuracy. Strong has shown consistently on film he can make every throw to any part of the field. While Strong can sling the ball all around the field, he also has accuracy in throwing pinpoint passes when his receivers are tightly covered. Strong is an incredibly poised quarterback who shines when throwing from the pocket. Strong has shown excellent skills that will translate nicely to the NFL field. He can throw back shoulder and over-the-top throws with the best of them. He has great feet in the pocket, constantly moving up or sliding to avoid pressure and hit his open receiver. Strong's mechanics are solid, quick delivery, and his feet are always underneath him. Strong will be a solid NFL starter for whichever franchise drafts him.
The one major weakness for Strong is he is not the most athletic prospect coming out in this draft. Strong will not be a significant rushing threat which may limit his fantasy football value, but he has enough athleticism to succeed in the NFL today. Another concern for Strong is his knee. Strong has had knee issues that have the chance to continue into the NFL; however, he did lead the Wolf Pack to a victory over Colorado State without a knee brace on. As long as his knee injury is not degenerative, he has the ability to be a long-term starter in the NFL.
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Top Ten Talent
First Round Talent
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Accuracy (85): Stong is a prospect who shows talent in all aspects of being an NFL pocket passer. Incredible talent with his arm and fabulous pocket presence. Strong can make accurate throws at all levels of the field. Able to hit his receivers in stride in the short, intermediate, and deep passing game, he can throw on the dime back shoulder and over-the-top throws that will translate very well to the NFL game.
Decision-Making (80): Strong shows a solid ability to make the right decision on any given play. He reads a defense well and takes what a defense gives him. He can slide and move in the pocket to buy enough time to throw the ball away or find the open receiver. He is willing to take a sack over forcing the ball to a covered receiver.
Mental Processing (79): Strong has solid mental processing and the ability to go through reads quickly. Will hit his first read if open but shows the ability to go to the second, third, or even fourth options on a play. Willing to stand in the face of pressure and deliver the ball accurately.
Arm Strength (85): Strong has an incredibly strong arm. He can make any throw on the field and hit 40 plus yard bombs with a flick of his wrist.
Pocket Presence (82): Strong is very poised in the pocket; he has a great pocket presence and ability to sense pressure. While not the most physically gifted quarterback, he can step up or slide in the pocket to buy time to make a throw. He also showed the ability to escape the pocket and throw the ball on the run.
Mechanics (82): Very consistent and clean mechanics come through on tape from Strong. Strong constantly has his feet planted below him and can drive the ball down the field. Very clean and consistent throwing motion and can change the platform from which he is throwing to get the ball out when needed. Throwing mechanics stay when faced with pressure and feet aren't set or if throwing on the run.
Improvisation (73): Able to move around the pocket well and buy time to find an open man. This season, the knee injury limited his ability to escape the pocket and pick up yards with his legs, but in 2020 Strong did show this ability. While not the strongest athlete and will need to be a threat on the ground, he has enough athleticism and improvisation skills to be effective at the NFL level.
Poise (82): Able to stand in the pocket well under pressure and still deliver the ball when pressure is right in his face. He never seems to panic in the pocket. Makes the right decision even when under pressure. Coming from Nevada, where the offensive line was not the strongest in the country, he showed excellent pocket presence throughout his career.
Athleticism (72): The weakest part of Strong's game is his athleticism. He will not break any records at the NFL combine, but he has solid NFL athleticism. Strong profiles as a pocket passer but can use his legs to buy time or pick up a first down when needed. Think of pocket passers like Derek Carr when you think of the mobility of Carson Strong.
Overall Grade 80: First Round Talent
Pre-NFL Draft Dynasty Thoughts
Strong's dynasty value heavily relies on how his medical checks come back. If there is no concern in his knee, the Strong can be a long-term valuable fantasy asset along the lines of a Matt Ryan. He can be a great streamer in favorable matchups for redraft and a high-end QB2 to dynasty leagues. His upside will depend on how many touchdowns he can throw since he does not bring much in the running game.
However, if the medical checks come in and the knee injury he has is degenerative, then it will be a really short career for Strong and one where he might not get a chance to show his talent as an NFL starter.
This article will be updated as we get farther into the draft process.