Arizona State WR would be a STRONG fit in NOLA’s offense


Drew Brees saw two of his top targets, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, leaving the New Orleans Saints in what could be described as a rather wild start to free agency.  Combined, those two trades weakened the Saints receiving corps by roughly 130 receptions, 1,800 yards and 13 touchdowns.  How do you replace that kind of production? One possibility is that emerging 3rd year Josh Hill continues his rise to stardom.

Nonetheless, the Black and Gold need to add a fast and big wideout to the receiving corps, ideally someone who excels in the red zone.  The Saints need another matchup nightmare to score touchdowns as teams could figure out Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.  If there’s one wide receiver in this year’s loaded class who fits that description, it would be Arizona State‘s Jaelen Strong, whom I mocked to the Saints in the lastest edition.

Strong, a JUCO transfer, posted 1,000-yard season in both years he played for the Sun Devils.  His huge frame (6’2″, 217 lbs) in combination with his impressive leaping ability allow him to catch contested balls with regularity.

The Philadelphia native is at his best when catching fades and back-shoulder throws, preferably in the red zone.  However, one would not do him justice by ignoring that the sure-handed wideout ran the entire route tree in college and produced in a big way, despite horrible quarterback performance and predictable play-calling.

The video above shows Jaelen Strong having his ways with defenders as he is targeted on post routes, fades and bubble screens.  Imagine this enormous talent being utilized by a play-caller like Sean Payton and Drew Brees’ ball placement.

Scouts criticize that Strong is not sudden in his movements and looks raw playing the position.  I am quick to dismiss those concerns, as Colston enjoyed a productive career despite not being “twitchy” either, creating separation with his frame and route-running.  The redshirt junior from Arizona State does tend to round his routes a little; fixing that would go a big way towards his development into a No. 1 NFL receiver.

What stands out on tape is the versatility Strong brings to the table; he troubled defenses by lining up in the slot, running screens and overpowering pressing corners at the line.  Those traits should ease the transition to the next level and would allow Sean Payton to use him in a number of ways.

All in all, Jaelen Strong is without a doubt the third or fourth best wideout depending on how you assess Dorial Green-Beckham in this strong draft class.  Many teams will have him ranked in the late teens of their big board but a fall into the Saints’ lap at No. 31 is not out of the question, as the teams in between the Saints two first-round selections are expected to target cornerbacks and linebackers.

A scenario in which the Saints trade down a couple of spots to acquire a second-round selection is within the realm of possibilities as well, picking up Jaelen Strong with the 18th-20th selection makes the most sense.  Therefore, the Sun Devil standout might literally be a strong fit in NOLA’s offense.

Next: New Orleans Saints Roster Debate: Erik Lorig or Austin Johnson

More from Who Dat Dish