With a little over five months until the 2022 NFL Draft and with All-Star game invites landing like the falling autumn leaves, decision time is looming for several prospects. One major piece of an intriguing quarterback puzzle is already moving into place. According to Pro Football Network sources, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong will declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Is Carson Strong declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft?
It is well chronicled that the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback class is possibly the most volatile since 2013. The opinion is split on who might be the best in the class. And the question as to whether any quarterback is worthy of a first-round pick is an even more subjective discussion.
While there is much uncertainty, one thing appears to be sure: Nevada’s Strong will be a part of this 2022 NFL Draft class.
According to Pro Football Network Chief NFL Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, not only will Strong declare for the 2022 NFL Draft, but he already has an agent in mind. Talking to Pro Football Network’s NFL Draft Director Cam Mellor on the “Between the Hashes” podcast, Pauline alluded to Strong’s impending decision on the draft:
“What I’m hearing is, the rumor out west is Carson Strong has decided on representation and will enter the 2022 NFL Draft. I’m told he’s gone. We’ll have to wait and see, but that’s what the word is out west.”
Nevada’s Strong’s case for QB1
There are elements of the scouting community that believe Strong could be the best QB in the 2022 NFL Draft class. The Nevada signal-caller fits the quarterback archetype that the NFL has been in love with throughout the years. Standing at 6’4″ and 215 pounds, he has the physical frame that conjures up the image of a professional pocket passer.
Strong has, for want of a better adjective, the strong arm of a traditional pocket passer. Week in, week out, he makes a pass that leaves you wowed and breathless. His tape is littered with examples of him dropping bombs downfield or zipping the ball into tight windows. According to Pauline, his arm strength is unparalleled in this class and even compared to previous NFL Draft quarterback classes.
“Hands down the strongest arm of any quarterback in this class. Strongest arm of any quarterback I’ve seen in a long time. It’s bombs away with this guy. It’s not like dink and dunk, you know, hit the receiver 5 yards off the line of scrimmage, and then a receiver runs 60 yards, so it’s a 65-yard reception. No, it’s a 65-yard pass through the air to hit one of his receivers down the field, and the ball comes down. And it’s wet because the guy can get it up so high.”
Concerns over Strong’s NFL Draft stock
While there is no doubting his arm talent, Strong’s stature and arm strength has led some to label him a “pocket passer” in an era where the traditional quarterback archetype is becoming a dying breed.
However, be under no illusion that Strong is this immobile statue of a signal-caller. He maneuvers the pocket as well as any quarterback in the class, even if he won’t wow with his prowess on the ground.
Size and a cannon for an arm make Strong an alluring prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. Furthermore, he’s been a highly productive passer at the college level. Rarely does a game go by where he doesn’t throw for 300 yards. Additionally, Strong could surpass 10,000 passing yards by the end of his third full season as a college quarterback.
Still, as a Group of Five prospect who routinely plays football as the East Coast is falling asleep, Strong doesn’t receive the same hype as fellow QB prospects like Matt Corral or Sam Howell. On Saturdays, Strong is often still suiting up while Kenny Pickett is shining in the national spotlight.
Could a high school knee injury derail his NFL dream?
Then there is the injury that has raised question marks about his future in the NFL. Strong suffered a season-ending knee injury in high school. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in the offseason. Although he didn’t miss any time, Pauline refers to the issue when discussing Strong’s decision to enter the NFL Draft.
“The questions about the knee injury still pop up. He had a significant knee injury in high school. If you watch him, he wears a massive knee brace. Teams will red flag guys who had big injuries during high school. Obviously, if he enters the draft, he’s going to have to go through all the combine medicals, the X-rays, the MRIs on the knee.”
If Strong does enter the 2022 NFL Draft, he will face questions over his knee injury. Moreover, analysts will scrutinize his ability to transition from Nevada’s offense to the NFL. Scouts will examine Strong’s ability to throw with touch and anticipation. While all this may be true, and his most significant tests may be to come, it very much appears like the Nevada quarterback will throw his hat into the 2022 NFL Draft ring.
“He’s gotta learn some touch, gotta learn some timing,” Pauline concludes. “But, I think right now, people who have Carson Strong in their mock drafts are gonna look pretty smart, as I’m told he’s going to declare.”
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