Quarterback Carson Strong was a perfect fit for Nevada’s Air Raid offense, but for as great of arm talent as he possesses, the redshirt junior’s lengthy injury history creates serious questions about his transition to the NFL.
Strong underwent knee surgery in high school to repair a condition known as osteochondritis dissecans, a defect in which the bone underneath joint cartilage deteriorates and essentially causes delamination. He has undergone multiple subsequent procedures on the same knee while at Nevada to address cartilage, scar tissue and fluid buildup.
Height: 6-foot-3 3/8
Weight: 226 pounds
40 time: N/A
Despite the knee issues, Strong has been highly productive the past two seasons, and was named Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2020. Last year, he again earned the same honor after his best statistical campaign to date.
Table: Carson Strong NCAA stats (2018-21)
*includes postseason/bowl games
- Impressive accuracy at all levels and from multiple throwing angles
- Elite arm talent — can spin it with the best of ’em and also deliver the ball with perfect touch as needed
- Throws proficiently from any platform to avoid traffic and exploit gaps in tight coverage
- Extremely consistent production from week to week
- Known for his leadership traits and competitive nature
- Does a great job of leading his receivers and helping them to avoid taking unnecessary hits
- Ideal fit for a vertical passing offense — can manufacture scoring plays in a blink
Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central
- Needs to improve pocket presence — aside from waiting too long at times, feel for pressure must get better
- Zero mobility — multiple knee surgeries have turned him into a statue
- Several surgeries on his right knee dating back to high school after being diagnosed with a bone condition — career longevity could be an issue
- Could stand to position the ball higher prior to release — in the NFL this could be an amplified area of concern vs. faster competition off the edge
- Holds the ball too long waiting for plays to develop — takes too many chances throwing into traffic for some coaches’ tolerance
- Stands to do a better job of taking what defenses present and also eating broken plays
- Has to work on looking off safeties and using his eyes to manipulate defenders
Fantasy football outlook
Strong must play behind a strong offensive line to have any chance of living up to his potential. Long-term durability will be particularly of interest to dynasty leaguers.
It’s unlikely he’ll be drafted into a situation that immediately puts him in the starting lineup, and if such a thing occurs, it really could derail his career development. The game is fast enough for mobile rookie quarterbacks as their head is spinning. Think of it as the David Carr Effect.
Strong should be a Day 2 selection. It may take a few years, and Strong’s optimal career arc requires specific parameters to be met, but he should mature into a legitimate QB1 for fake football purposes.