College Football News: Will Carson Strong emerge as a top QB in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Between the Hashes returns to break down the latest college football news and touches on Carson Strong's rising NFL Draft stock.

The latest episode of Pro Football Network’s Between the Hashes Podcast touches on the lead-up to the college football season and breaks down the latest college football news and notes. PFN’s Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline and Draft Analyst Cam Mellor also look at some players whose stock is climbing, including QB Carson Strong.

Note: To watch this episode of Between the Hashes, tune in to the video player above. You can also listen on your favorite podcast platform, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

College Football News and Notes

The nation will be locked into actual, meaningful football next weekend when college football returns. That means the country will be anxiously awaiting the next Joe Burrow or Zach Wilson meteoric rise from a quarterback.

After Burrow rose to fame and ultimately won a national championship and Heisman Trophy, Wilson put himself into the Heisman discussion and had BYU as the talk of the college football landscape in 2020. Both quarterbacks rose from relative obscurity in the nation’s eyes to become their season’s most polarizing player. Then, they were selected first and second, respectively, in back-to-back NFL Drafts.

As such, the hunt is on for “the next Joe Burrow or Zach Wilson” as the college season nears.

Can Carson Strong be that next riser?

On the latest episode of Between the Hashes with Tony Pauline and Cam Mellor, Pauline discussed what he has already seen from Nevada QB Carson Strong.

“What will happen is the people who don’t cover the draft after the Super Bowl or maybe people whose team starts 0-7 come the middle of October may start to latch on to Carson Strong. But get to know this guy.

“I did a mock first round, and I have Carson Strong in my top 15. I don’t know if he goes top 15, but he’s got that potential. He is a big, strong, mobile pocket passer. He has one of the strongest arms of any quarterback I’ve scouted in probably the last 15-20 years.

“He slings it downfield with ease. His deep passes have great speed. He can make all the passes. He challenges the vertical game and has a lot of upside.”

With a glowing recommendation like that, it’s no wonder why Between the Hashes spoke so fondly of Strong. But if that’s the general consensus, why is there no one else talking about Strong?

The schematic downside to Strong

Part of the trouble with Strong is the level of play in which Nevada competes. The Group of Five is no slouch if you know what you’re looking for, but that’s the inherent trouble. Not everyone knows what they’re looking for. When it comes to Strong, however, the Group of Five level of play moniker is a lazy one once you see him sling the ball.

Strong’s geographic location may also play a factor if ‘analysts‘ are dependent on East Coast time zones. But again, that’s just being lazy. Once you see Strong’s tape, you’d be sold.

So what is the largest discrepancy between the general outlook on Strong and his play on the field that does leave some concern? Pauline discussed this specifically on Between the Hashes:

“I think the offense they play at Nevada is kind of to his detriment in the sense that they play a lot of Pistol formations. They get a little too cute for themselves.”

“Go back to that first game of 2019 against Wyoming. They were up 24-0, they’re down in the red zone with a chance to put the game away. They line up their running back behind center. Four downs in a row, they don’t get in the end zone. Wyoming comes storming back, and Nevada has to pull the game out at the end.”

“Point being, when they should be giving the ball to the best player, not just the best player on their offense, the best player on the team [Strong], they get a little too cute with themselves. I don’t think he has a lot of reads there, that’s going to be something he has to work on. That’s something he may be a little behind the eightball on.”

Strong’s areas of improvement are all coachable

The best part about what Pauline said about Strong above is that all of that is coachable, especially when NFL coaches do the coaching.

If you’re already a Strong fan, good. If you are not already a Strong fan, not good. But have no fear — there’s still time to get on board before he starts to emerge. Nevada plays Cal in Week 1 of the 2021 college football season in what will be a great test of Strong’s skills.

Cam Mellor is the Senior Director of the College Football/NFL Draft vertical for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and follow him on Twitter: @CamMellor.


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