Arizona State announced today that wide receiver Jaelen Strong will forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft, as Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.com writes. At present, Strong looks like a possible first-round talent.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (via Twitter) sees Strong as a late first-round choice. Recently, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. told Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic the receiver is a second-round selection who could sneak into the first if he runs well at NFL workouts.
“The big question will be separation speed, quickness out of your break, explosiveness out of your break,” Kiper said. “Pro Day’s going to be very important for Jaelen Strong, there’s no question about that.”
Strong hauled in 75 passes for 1,062 yards and ten touchdowns in his 2014 regular season, drawing attention from pro scouts everywhere. Strong first came to ASU as a JUCO transfer two years ago and even though made a big impact in his first season, he blossomed into a more polished athlete this year. While he believes that he has a bright NFL future ahead of him, he made it clear that leaving ASU early was not an easy decision for him.
“First, I would like to thank Coach [Todd] Graham and the staff for believing in me from day one. I’d like to thank the Sun Devil Nation, the fans, and all of the people who work behind the scenes that I encounter every day that have been like a family to me,” Strong said in a statement. “Most importantly, I would like to thank my teammates, my brothers, for having my back through thick and thin. Finally, I’d like to thank Jean Boyd and his academic staff for their dedication to Sun Devil football.”