Jaelen Strong Is a Perfect Fit for the Houston Texans' Offense
After trading up for the 70th overall pick, the Houston Texans have added Jaelen Strong to their receiving corps.
At 6'2" and 217 pounds, Strong is a big target with the potential to develop into an excellent receiving option to play across from Deandre Hopkins
Strong put up solid numbers at Arizona State, posting 1,000-yard seasons in both 2013 and 2014 and catching 17 touchdowns in the process.
Strong enters the league still fairly raw -- his route-running leaves something to be desired, and he struggles to consistently get separation, but his physicality and ability to win contested catches have drawn comparisons to Marques Colston and Anquan Boldin, among others.
He doesn't have elite quickness, and he's not going to be blowing by corners and taking the tops off of defenses, but Strong excels in traffic and can become a very dangerous red zone threat in the NFL. With a 42" vertical and 32.5" arms, there aren't many passes out of his reach, combining that with his knack for beating defenders on back-shoulder fades in college makes him dangerous and a constant threat to find the end zone.
Houston is a landing spot where Strong should be able to come in and immediately start putting up big touchdown numbers. Now-departed Andre Johnson accounted for 37.1% of the Texans' 2014 red zone targets, the highest team share in the entire league. It would be a surprise to see many of these now-unaccounted for targets to go to Deandre Hopkins, as he has struggled mightily in the red zone as a pro, scoring only 3 touchdowns on 24 red zone targets.
Johnson's departure also leaves a big void in overall targets. He leaves 30.5% -- or 146 -- of the Texans' 2014 targets up for grabs. While Strong isn't the only player who will step in to fill the void -- Nuk Hopkins should see a big uptick in targets, and the Texans also brought in Cecil Shorts -- he will see some opportunity, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if he ended 2015 as one of the most targeted rookie wideouts.
Perhaps Strong's biggest obstacle to success may be the Texans' quarterback situation. Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer aren't likely to lead a dominating passing attack, which could limit the total amount of receptions to go around.
Jaelen Strong isn't going to blow you away with speed or a flashy skill set. He's not going to be exploding down the field for 80-yard touchdowns. What's going to offer in 2015 is a solid target and consistency. There is enough of an opening in the Texans' offense that even without the huge plays, Strong may not be Andre Johnson, but his presence and impact will be felt immediately and he should step in and produce immediately in Houston.