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Draft Prospects: Jaelen Strong - Wide Receiver

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Jaelen Strong is a guy that we've seen attached to the Ravens in some of their mock drafts. With the Ravens constantly needing help at receiver, it isn't a surprise to see analysts looking at a guy like Strong to bolster a receiving corps that could use some additional depth.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jaelen Strong is a guy that we've seen attached to the Ravens in some of their mock drafts. With the Ravens constantly needing help at receiver, it isn't a surprise to see analysts looking at a guy like Strong to bolster a receiving corps that could use some additional depth. Even though Strong plays receiver and could be a good fit for the Ravens, I'm not sure that the Ravens have a need for his style of play with so many young players that fit a similar mold already on the team.

The Good:

A big bodied pass catcher that has the attitude to fight for the ball and in blocking. A hard working possession style receiver that could find a spot as a red zone receiver. He has the muscle tone and size of someone larger than his 205-pound listed weight with strong hands and arms needed for a possession receiver. Strong has no problem going all out for a pass and with a less accurate quarterback, found himself diving or jumping for passes at times when a more accurate quarterback could have thrown him open and given him room to run.

The Bad:

Strong isn't a quick or fast guy and doesn't have the skill set to either take a defense deep or to be a quick hit target in the slot. He takes a while to wind up at his final speed and is slow out of his breaks, which allows defenders to sit on his routes. Defenders in the NFL will be able to jump his routes unless he gets better at keeping his speed through change of direction and can run crisper routes.

He could use some training at using his body better in receptions to protect the ball from the defender and getting off press coverage. He can sometimes allow passes a little too far into his body and has slight lapses of concentration where he will drop a pass that should have been completed. Would do well to learn how to stiff arm after the catch with his body and style.

Overall:

Strong looks and feels like Anquan Boldin to me. A little bit of an attitude when fighting for the ball and a big body to help protect the ball from defenders, but without the speed to be a consistent matchup problem for any defense. He won't ever become a true #1 receiver, but he can do well on an offense that already has a threat at receiver where he will likely see a smaller corner in zone coverage, which he should be able to beat regularly.

As with most receiving prospects, his draft spot will be determined by his 40-yard-dash time, even though the tape shows a player that isn't going to wow you with his speed. One of the best things about Strong is that he is clearly still learning his body and how to play the position better and should improve over what we see at this point.

Right now, I have him ranked as an early to middle second round pick that could fall down to the third round if he doesn't hit the right numbers at the combine. However, he would be a great value for just about any team and would immediately compete on the Ravens for playing time with potential to take over for Steve Smith once he retires. After a few years of growing into the intricacies of the position, he could create a niche for himself as a first down machine and team player.