I do not like many guys. I only have a handful of favorites over the past 40 years. So, when I say I like Nevada quarterback (QB) Carson Strong, I mean it.
When I turn on the film, 90 percent of these guys are just guys. They just go through the motions. If I had a dollar every time I have seen an NFL player go half speed or take it easy on a play, I would be rich.
However, that is not the case with Strong.
Strong is ultra competitive and he plays with emotion. He looks like he gives a damn. It is for that reason he is currently my QB2 (next to Matt Corral QB1) for the 2022 NFL Draft.
I have been told (from someone who was a scout at the Patriots), that Bill Belichick does not have 300-400 prospects on his draft board like the rest of the league. He has somewhere between 30-75 guys up on his board. That is going to be like me when I run a team. It takes a lot more for me than guys who have the measurables and guys who look pretty running around little orange cones on their pro days.
QB #12 Carson Strong 6’4″ 216 Nevada
Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: First Round – Top 10
NFL comparables: John Friesz, Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde, Jared Goff and Mac Jones
Good fit: Falcons, Giants, Vikings, Lions
2021 Film Exposure: Cal, Boise State and Kansas State
Level of competition: Moderate
Chief concern: (Medical) knee
Character concerns: None (background search came back clean)
Probability of being a bust: Low
Best way to beat him: Pressure in his face. Get him out of his comfort zone and flush him out of the pocket. Tends to be less accurate when he is on the move as opposed to when he can set his feet and throw.
Tall, lanky, long, and strong-armed prospect with excellent poise who drives the ball and his team downfield. Shows maturity. Super comfortable in the pocket. Natural. Makes it look easy. The first impression was “baseball pitcher, 1st basemen” type. Ironically, pitched some as a youngster. Looks smart, alert, and focused in his eyes. Looks like he is coming off the mound. Operated exclusively out of shotgun formation. Good ball-handling skills and play-action fake. Sets up quickly and tends to make quick decisions. Knows where he is going with the football. Shows he can go through progressions but operates in mostly a first-read scheme. Effective at all three route levels (short, intermediate, and deep). Classic pocket QB with limited mobility. Tends to take sacks. Does not know how to slide. Can gun and drive the ball or transition and throw it with a softer touch. Decent ball placement and tends to throw it only where his receivers can get it. Can fit it into tight windows and coverages. Protects the ball well. Does not take a lot of unnecessary chances. Dependable. Throws some “wow” passes. Can put it on a rope in the intermediate route level. Can cut it loose. Prolific deep-ball thrower. Takes a lot of deep shots. Average accuracy deep, but can occasionally drop it into a bread-basket. Runs the offense with a relaxed, but urgent rhythm and tempo. He plays like the game is important to him. Passionate. Teammates respond to him. Looks like a leader. Can effectively start as a rookie. Will need work learning to read the field and defenses more. Needs to show he can go through progressions more. Has what it takes to be a winner in the NFL. Plays with an edge.
The big thing with Strong is making sure his knee medically checks out. Strong was wearing a right knee brace against Kansas State. Sports have always been important to him from the time he was very young. Set high school records in basketball.
Nevada team captain Kaleb Fossum spoke highly of Strong’s work ethic and said, “I love a competitive dude with a chip on your shoulder and screw-you attitude.”
A team should draft him who wants to drive the ball deep downfield. This is not an RPO QB. This guy is a throwback. Research indicated he has experience punting, which could create a distinct game-day advantage in 4th down situations.
Impressive – – along the lines of Mac Jones as a rookie.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.