Jaelen Strong: Browns Draft Profile
By Cole McKee
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns 2015 NFL Draft seems ready to be a very interesting one for the team. With 10 picks, including two in the first round, the Browns are ready to make noise again for the second year in a row.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Last year the Browns draft included a big trade down and the drafting of Johnny Manziel. While the first round hasn’t panned out yet, the rest of the draft seems to be great. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
After free agency we wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns tried to trade their picks to move up, to get another veteran or went with best player available instead of drafting for need. Farmer did this last year when he drafted Joel Bitonio, Terrance West, Christian Kirksey and others instead of drafting a wide receiver. We could see that again.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for the NFL Draft.
6’2″, 217 lbs
Arizona State University
2014 – 12 games; 82 Receptions, 1165 yards, 10 Touchdowns
2014 NFL Draft Comparison
Marqise Lee– 39th overall (Jacksonville Jaguars) – Marqise Lee and Jaelen Strong are both gifted, well rounded receivers. Both are average height for an NFL receiver, but compensate by using trademark elusiveness and impressive explosion off the line. While both excel at making the contested catch under pressure, they both went into the draft regarded as exceptionally versatile yet raw talent. Additionally, both Lee and Strong have long, lanky strides (They both ran a 4.44 forty), which means they take a while to build up to top speed. With Marqise Lee chosen by Jacksonville to replace the troubled Justin Blackmon. With Josh Gordon unlikely to return for the Browns this season, perhaps Strong can have the same effect on the Browns that Lee served for the Jaguars.
2015 NFL Draft Range
Late 1st Round – Early 2nd Round – The 2015 draft does not have quite the star power as last year’s draft when it comes to receivers, but there are some solid, if raw, receivers available. Last season, Strong showed he could excel in the Pac-12, being selected to the First-team All Pac-12 as well as finishing the season as a Biletnikoff award semi-finalist. Strong amassed a total of 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns, starting 13 games for the Sun Devils. Overall, Strong is a good, well rounded short-mid range threat who is still raw, but could become great with some refinement from the correct team.
Fit with the Browns
Miles Austin is one of the four leading receivers on the Browns roster from this past season and is the only one who stands above 5’10”. The Browns’ clearly sound like they have moved on from the Josh Gordon experiment and the aging 30-year old veteran is not getting any younger. At 6’2″, Strong is another wide receiver prospect that could step-in and stretch the field for the Browns’ offense. The Browns’ offense desperately missed the deep ball last season and had to rely heavily on the slot receivers to stretch the defense. Strong has a the size, strength, and quickness to get separation and make contested catches.
- Deep threat – This is an area of weakness for Strong. He takes a while to build up his speed, and has a difficult time creating separation when necessary down field, and corners worth their stuff know this and can anticipate his moves deep.
- Short/Middle field – Strong played high school basketball, and it shows when he makes short, middle field catches. Strong can separate from defenders off the line with impressive explosiveness and a rare suddenness from a receiver of his size. Strong excels in using his large frame to out maneuver smaller defenders and secure the contested catch. After the catch, Strong stays physical, and can easily earn those crucial extra yards. His ability to make the contested catch and force those extra yards would prove highly valuable should Johnny Manziel/Josh McCown need to be bailed out.
- Run Block – Strong is an extremely physical receiver, and it shows when he is called upon to run block. he can hold his own against most corners or slot linebackers. His strong hands and off the line quickness help him to control the defender across from him.
Browns Player Selection Could Impact
With Josh Gordon not catching balls for the Browns next season, the Browns receiving corps needs all the help it can get. With Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin, Taylor Gabriel, and Travis Benjamin combining for an abysmal 8 touchdowns for the regular season, it is blatantly obvious the receiving corps needs an injection of fresh blood. With a new QB in McCown, Strong could play a crucial role in the development of the new Browns offense, hopefully as a reliable back up receiver to Dwayne Bowe. After some work (and perhaps some mentoring from Bowe) Strong could be a solid piece of the Browns offensive scheme.
How Selection Could Be Impacted By Free Agency
With the Browns signing the venerable free agent Dwayne Bowe from the Kansas City Chiefs, they will most likely decide to use the first round pick on addressing the needs of the talented but aging offensive line. However, Strong could be a productive No. 2 receiver alongside Dwayne Bowe. Bowe could also act as a potential mentor for Strong, helping to turn this raw but versatile young receiver into a solid option for McCown/Manziel.
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High-Medium – The Browns have traditionally been a running team, and that hasn’t worked out too well. With the offensive line getting on in years, perhaps a change is in order. With the QB situation in mild chaos once again, having a solidified receiving corps could go a long way in alleviating the Browns offensive woes come next season. The signing of the veteran Dwayne Bowe marks a pivotal first step in establishing the receiving corps. The addition of the well-rounded Jaelen Strong seems like a great decision, looking towards the future for the Browns.
What do you think about targeting Jaelen Strong in the 2015 NFL Draft?
Next: Full Browns NFL Draft Profiles List
The video clips were provided courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com