The Houston Texans look to expand upon a successful 2014 season where they finished 9-7 under first year head coach Bill O’Brien. As we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2015 season we here at the Toro Times want to take a look at what can be expected from key players on the roster this season.
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We continue this series with a look at a player who fell in the draft before Houston decided to move up and stop his fall. Wide receiver Jaelen Strong was picked in the third round, number 70 overall, despite being ranked higher coming into the draft by NFL.com.
"“He has extremely strong hands. He reminds me of Larry Fitzgerald in body frame only. When the ball is in his hands, he’s a horse. He high points the ball as good as anybody in the country.” — Mike Mayock"
The reason for the fall by Strong seemed to be due to a wrist injury which some teams were worried about. The Texans were the team that realized they weren’t just drafting for 2015, and didn’t allow an injury to keep them from drafting a good player at a position of need.
A Look Back
The Texans gave up a fifth and seventh round pick along with wide receiver DeVier Posey to the New York Jets in order to exchange third round picks and get the 21-year old receiver. So, how good is the player that Houston picked up? According to his statistics, they got a very good receiver.
Strong began his collegiate career at Los Angeles Pierce College where in 2012 he had 67 receptions with 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns over the course of ten games.
In 2013 after transferring to Arizona State he pulled down 75 catches for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns. Although the competition rose, Strong caught more passes for similar yardage, but came up shorter in the touchdown totals.
However, he continued to develop and finished his last year in Tempe with 82 receptions for 1,165 yards and double digit touchdowns, 10.
What To Expect
The 6’3″, 217 pound receiver has a chance to line up opposite starter DeAndre Hopkins, and fits the mold of the big possession receiver. His strong hands and large frame make him an ideal red zone target as well, even if he loses out on the starting job to Cecil Shorts III or Nate Washington.
Whether Strong lands as number two or three, he should see the field a lot for Houston and could help make up for the lack of a quality pass catching tight end, especially near the goal line.
While a slow start is possible, especially considering the injured wrist, I expect Jaelen to take the starting job before the year is done, and think he can be a solid contributor for Houston for many years to come.
Toro Times Bold Prediction For Jaelen Strong
45 catches 560 yards 6 touchdowns