Something to Prove: Jaelen Strong
By Josh McSwain
The former Arizona State receiver has not lived up to his 70th overall draft selection, and with the Texans taking two receivers early in the draft, the pressure is on Jaelen Strong to keep his spot on the roster.
After just one season, the Texans already look like they are questioning their third round pick from a year ago. In ten games last season, Strong caught just 14 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. His best game was against the Jaguars in the season finale in which he caught six passes for 56 yards, both season highs.
He did score two touchdowns in his first NFL game against the Colts, and the only other game last season in which he made any impact was in the win at Indianapolis in which he scored his third touchdown.
With the arrivals of Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, Strong’s role has become undefined at best. DeAndre Hopkins is the #1 guy, but Fuller figures to be the #2 receiver and deep threat with Miller operating out of the slot. Strong will struggle to find snaps this season if he does not step it up.
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His senior year of college Strong had five 100+ yard games, including a 202 yard game against USC in which he scored three touchdowns. His scouting report coming into the draft had almost all positive things to say about him–hard worker, fights for jump balls, good hands, etc. The weaknesses were lack of deep speed and needed to improve his route running.
Well the Texans got the deep threat in Fuller, but if Strong can improve his routes he will push for a lot of playing time and potentially give the Texans a four receiver package that is incredibly hard to match up with. If he doesn’t, there is a chance he won’t make the team. They say NFL means Not For Long, and that could be the case with Strong.