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2015 NFL Draft Results: What Jaelen Strong Brings To The Texans

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Guess what Houston Texans fan site had a disturbingly detailed look at Jaelen Strong, the player who would become the Texans' 2015 third round pick, weeks ago? Get the skinny on Houston's newest wide receiver.

The DeAndre Hopkins to DeAndre Hopkins?
The DeAndre Hopkins to DeAndre Hopkins?
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

As Andrew Luck Fate would have it, our resident scouting guru, Brett Kollmann, had a post last month dissecting four of the wide receivers available in the 2015 NFL Draft. One of those four was just selected by your Houston Texans after the Texans traded up in the third round. That player? Jaelen Strong, and here was what Brett wrote about him three weeks ago.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State

Size/bulk ---------------------------------- 8/10 (Bigger side of 6’2", 217 lbs. Good size, but not great or elite)

Hand size/catching --------------------- 6/10 ( **I'll preface this by saying that he suffered a previously unknown wrist injury that might have contributed to the following issues**......Small-ish 9" hands, and I can’t bump it up at all because he showed a clear inconsistency when fighting for the ball in traffic. He isn’t like DeAndre Hopkins or Anquan Boldin with their ability to snatch a ball away from someone despite having a corner draped all over them. He does better with a clear shot at the ball, and even then he had some drops here and there. He made some really, really nice catches on back shoulder fades where he could use his bulk to screen the corner out of it, but everything else was spotty. Double catches at times as well. Had it poked out from his grip a few times on the way down. In general just  inconsistent hands)

Route running --------------------------- 10/15 (Runs a wider variety of routes than Kevin White, but he’s still pretty raw. Feet on release could use work, but I like that he rides the shoulder to snap on breaks and uses his bulk to his advantage. Doesn’t stem on deeper routes as well as White either, but I think he beats press better with hand usage and strength. Another JC transfer, so again a lot of those guys are raw as hell. He has shown a lot of coachability though, so I’m optimistic about improvement. He just needs at least 1-2 years of seasoning first)

Body control/ deep adjustment ---- 9/10 (Flashes requisite body control to do work on jump balls/back shoulders/deep balls, but his hands kind of ruin it for him sometimes with drops. Very good at trying to cross DBs' faces and put himself in between them and the ball. Good at setting up rubs. Clearly wants to give himself opportunities to use that size, which I like)

Run blocking ----------------------------- 6/10 (Inconsistent blocker. Whiffed a lot, doesn’t strike into DBs' chests, didn’t churn and sustain. He’s a body in the way and that’s about it….same exact evaluation as Cooper here, if it seems familiar)

Speed/Acceleration --------------------- 10/15 (4.4 at the combine was a little misleading. He doesn’t play that fast on tape. Long strider and slow footed in and out of breaks at this point in his career. Takes a while to build up speed. Flashes some agility sometimes on screens, but he’s really not a YAC guy either. Overall he will win with body control over speed and quickness 9/10 times)

Toughness --------------------------------- 8/10 (Not afraid to go over the middle, didn’t seem to shy away from contact. Very good at breaking press with physicality. Still a weak run blocker though, want him to bury people)

Durability ---------------------------------- 8/10 (Never missed a game at ASU until he sat out of Wazzu with a concussion suffered against Oregon State. Was hobbled for a few weeks in his first season at ASU after an ankle injury suffered against Weber State, but still didn’t miss a game. He's a tough kid. Problems with his hands may stem from a previously unknown wrist injury. He reportedly caught everything near him at his pro day...so it's possible the injury played a role in that inconsistency)

Character/leadership ------------------- 10/10 (Captain for the bowl game against Duke. Extremely hard worker. Won’t give you any trouble off the field. Very coachable and wants to learn how to be the best at his craft more than anything. Took time to go into DB meetings to learn how they were playing him so that he could learn how to counter it. I love that about him. I have more faith in his development to go from raw to refined than I do Kevin White, though White has better speed, quickness, and hands at this point. If Strong can learn how to improve his hands and let the coaches mold his route running, he could be very, very good. That’s a big "if", though. At least he has the work ethic to stick on a roster and hopefully leave every practice better than when he got there)

OVERALL ----------------------------------- 75 (Big bodied jump ball and red zone threat who has inconsistent hands on every other non-fade route he runs. Better route runner than White, but that’s not saying much. Still slow in and out of breaks, slow off the line, long strider who takes a while to build up speed and probably won’t separate from anyone. He wins with body position, which he has the size to do. Biggest pros are size, 42" vert, and work ethic. Biggest cons are shaky hands and a lack of quickness to separate. He’ll be a complementary receiver at the next level, someone who can contribute with touchdowns and first downs on back shoulder fades and hopefully learn to work the middle with body control as well, but it’s hard for me to peg him as a number one receiver without the speed and quickness necessary to take advantage of route running and burn the most technically proficient corners. At the very least he’ll work hard, improve himself to a starting caliber #2, and be a good football player for someone. If he develops beyond that, it’s just gravy. Could be taken in the latter half of the first round or early second round for teams that need a complementary weapon)

Note that Brett had Strong as the fortieth best player and the No. 8 wide receiver in the 2015 NFL Draft. Strong may not be the (more) complete receiver some of his cohorts are at this point, but the physical tools are awfully appealing. As I've written before, taking Jaelen Strong in the first round was a frightening proposition. But in the third round, for the 2015 Houston Texans and their current wide receiving corps, it strikes me as very good value.

Do you approve of this pick, especially considering what it cost to move up to get him?