Oct 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils receiver Jaelen Strong (21) celebrates with receiver Cameron Smith (6) after catching a 53-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the game against the Southern California Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Arizona State defeated USC 38-34. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Texans moved up in round three to select Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong in the third round of the draft this season. Heading into the rookie scouting portion of the offseason, Strong looked to be a potential first-to-second round selection after an impressive campaign for the Sun Devils.
However, a wrist injury seemed to soften a lot of teams stances on the promising young player. The Texans decided that they were not going to continue to pass on Strong and made sure to make the trade to get him to Houston.
Strong makes our list of players to watch for two reasons. The first being whether or not he looks to be fully healthy and the second is if he is healthy, can he show enough to surpass one of the veterans currently ahead of him in Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts III?
While Strong surely has the talent, what will be telling is how quickly he can adjust to the next level. If he comes out of the gates slowly, he could find himself in a similar role as players like Su’a-Filo who pretty much had a redshirt rookie year.
If Strong can come in and show some of the playmaking ability he flashed while in Tempe, he may prove to be too valuable to sit on the bench. One thing that is for sure is O’Brien has no problem playing a rookie who has earned their time (see cornerback Andre Hal and running back Alfred Blue), while also having no issue with making a player sit and learn during their rookie year (see tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and Su’a-Filo).
All that means for Strong is that he is only limited by what he shows during training camp and preseason, which will make watching his every snap very entertaining.
Next: What can the veteran receivers brought in provide?