Carson Strong

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/29/22

Teams have until 3pm Tuesday to slash their rosters from 80 to 53 players. Here are the Monday moves teams are making en route to doing so. The list will be updated throughout the day.

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NFC East Rumors: Eagles’ QB3, Seumalo, Giants, Slayton

For much of the pre-draft process, Nevada quarterback Carson Strong‘s name was often mentioned among the top players at the position. At the end of the draft, though, Strong’s name was still on the board and he found himself fielding calls as an undrafted free agent, deciding to sign with Philadelphia for a guaranteed amount of $320,000, the highest amount to any undrafted free agent in 2022.

While many thought the impressive signing bonus essentially guaranteed that Strong would slot in on the depth chart just behind top-two quarterbacks Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew, the competition for the No. 3 quarterback seems to gotten away from Strong. An underwhelming offseason has led Strong to fall to fourth on the depth chart behind a late-season waiver claim from last year, according to Bo Wulf of The Athletic.

Reid Sinnett was claimed off waivers in late-October by the Eagles last season. He’s spent time on the practice squads for both the Buccaneers and Dolphins and has had an impressive offseason with the Eagles. Wulf even posits that, if Sinnett can have a strong enough preseason, Philadelphia may want to reconsider hearing some trade offers for Minshew, who has struggled throughout camp in the final year of his rookie contract.

Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC West, starting with another rumor from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • For much of the offseason, the back-loaded nature of Isaac Seumalo‘s contract led those in league circles to consider him a prime candidate to be cut for cap space. It was expected that Philadelphia would have Jack Driscoll and Cam Jurgens compete with Seumalo for the starting right guard job, allowing one of them to take the reins and make it easier to part ways with Seumalo. But, according to Wulf, there is no competition for the position. Despite the troubles many expected from his contract, Seumalo has the starting spot locked down while Driscoll and Jurgens haven’t taken a single rep at right guard this preseason.
  • Giants No. 2 cornerback Aaron Robinson got picked on quite a bit during the team’s preseason win over the Patriots this week. The second-year cornerback opposite Adoree’ Jackson is likely to be challenged pretty consistently throughout the season, and Robinson’s struggles seemed to emphasize the glaring lack of depth at cornerback in New York. This could lead the Giants to be on the lookout for an outside cornerback to add to the room, according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. This outside help could come in the form of a current free agent or a veteran cornerback that finds himself on the market as roster cuts continue throughout the league.
  • After running with the second- and third-team for most of the offseason, wide receiver Darius Slayton ran with the Giants’ starters in the team’s preseason game this week and was featured exclusively. After leading the team in receiving in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Slayton emerged as a trade candidate at the beginning of the offseason and, more recently, found himself in danger of getting waived. Despite being feature prominently on Thursday, it still seems that Slayton is not long for New York. In fact, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post believes that playing Slayton as a starter this week was intended to display him to the trade market in an effort to pump up his value as a trade asset. Look for more Slayton targets throughout the remainder of the preseason if this proves true.

Eagles Sign UDFA QBs Carson Strong, EJ Perry

The Eagles will go into the 2022 season with Jalen Hurts under center, and perhaps Hurts will prove, in his second full season as the starting quarterback, that he is the club’s long-term answer at the position. But Philadelphia has added two intriguing UDFA passers to the QB room just the same.

Per Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, the Eagles are not only signing former Nevada quarterback Carson Strong, they are furnishing him with a massive (for a UDFA, anyway) $320K guarantee (Twitter link). GM Howie Roseman doubled down on undrafted signal-callers, signing former Boston College and Brown QB EJ Perry as well.

Strong, who elected to forego his senior season and enter the 2022 draft — possibly motivated by a weak collegiate class of quarterbacks — was not among the draft’s 262 selections. That is despite a tremendous run for the Wolfpack that saw him complete over 70% of his passes in the 2020 and 2021 seasons and earn Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors in both years. During that time, he threw for 63 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions, and his combination of arm strength and touch has been praised by scouts.

The concern with Strong is his medical chart. As Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports writes, Strong suffers from osteochondritis dissecans, a knee condition that includes cartilage problems. Strong has had multiple surgeries on the knee, so that will need to be monitored throughout his professional career, and it is expected to limit his mobility in a big way.

Still, from a pure talent perspective, the Eagles will have a great deal to work with as they attempt to develop Strong. The 6-4, 226-pounder is currently projected to compete with Reid Sinnett for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, but he could be bumped up the pecking order if he shows promise and if Philadelphia elects to trade current QB2 Gardner Minshew. With Hurts’ future still somewhat uncertain, and with Minshew’s contract expiring at the end of the 2022 season, it’s easy to see why Strong elected to sign with the Eagles.

Perry, meanwhile, will likely be fighting for a practice squad spot unless there is a trade or injury. He earned Ivy League Player of the Year acclaim in 2021 after throwing for 3,033 yards and 23 TDs in just 10 games and adding another 402 yards and seven scores on the ground, showcasing his dual-threat capabilities.

 

Nevada QB Carson Strong To Enter Draft

One of the top quarterback prospects eligible for the 2022 draft, Carson Strong will be available in April. The Nevada quarterback will skip the Wolfpack’s bowl game and bypass his senior season to enter the draft (Twitter link).

Nevada’s starter for the past three seasons, Strong put up big numbers over his final two at the Mountain West program. The 6-foot-4 passer finished with 70.1 and 70.2% completion rates as a sophomore and junior, working with wideout Romeo Doubs to form one of college football’s top aerial connections.

Strong posted a 27-to-4 TD-INT ratio in 2020 and established career-high marks in touchdown passes (36) and yards (4,186) this season. Strong earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year acclaim in each of his final two seasons.

ESPN.com ranks Strong as its No. 6 quarterback in this upcoming class, slotting him behind Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Matt Corral (Ole Miss), Malik Willis (Liberty) and Sam Howell (North Carolina). This QB class has long lacked the reputation of those in recent years, but positional value dictates a few will go in Round 1. Strong could be in the mix for such a rise, or a Day 2 landing spot, depending on how he fares during the pre-draft process.

Top QB Prospects In 2022 NFL Draft

Every team in the NFL came into the 2021-22 season with a plan at quarterback. Some of those plans have gone awry and some of those plans have proven unsuccessful. The Texans, Football Team, and Saints have seen injuries dismantle their plans for Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Jameis Winston, respectively. The Giants, Panthers, and Lions hoped for promising seasons behind youngsters Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and Jared Goff, respectively, but a lack of success has left them disappointed. The Broncos might not see Teddy Bridgewater return after a one-year deal. And teams like the Falcons and Steelers have aging veterans in Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively, that may be starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Any of these teams may stick it out and see their plans through, and any teams that seem set at the quarterback position may decide that some young talent may improve their franchise. Well, there’s only one place to go for young football talent, and that leads us to the pool of top quarterback prospects presumed to be available in the 2022 NFL Draft.

When you look at the list of college quarterbacks preparing to enter the NFL next season, you’ll notice something a little different from years past. There is no Trevor Lawrence or Joe Burrow or Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield. That is to say there is no unanimous top quarterback prospect with star power that led their team to the College Football Playoffs. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder did achieved what was seemingly impossible: guiding a Group of 5 school into the College Football Playoffs, but most GMs in the NFL do not see him as a first-round pick.

Instead, NFL GMs and evaluators seem to have narrowed it down to two quarterback prospects most likely to be taken on day one of the NFL Draft: Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Ole Miss’s Matt Corral.

Pickett spent most of his freshman season in 2017 as a backup with his first start coming against the visiting Miami Hurricanes who were ranked second in the country by the College Football Playoff Committee going into the last week of the regular season. Pickett introduced himself to the college football world by leading the 4-7 Panthers to a huge upset over the Hurricanes. Pickett took over the starting job and never looked back. The next couple of years were nothing to brag about as he threw 13 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in both his junior and his senior seasons. But COVID-19 granted him a fifth year of eligibility and he made sure to take advantage. In his final year, Pickett completed 67.2% of his passes for 4,319 yards, throwing 42 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. Pickett led the Panthers to their first ever ACC Championship and finished third in Heisman voting.

Corral spent his freshman season backing up current Washington practice squad quarterback Jordan Ta’amu and took a redshirt after only appearing in four games. He took over the next year as the Ole Miss starting quarterback and led the team to a 4-8 finish completing 59.0% of his passes for 1,362 yards and throwing 6 touchdowns to 3 interceptions as a redshirt-freshman. Corral developed over the next two years completing 69.5% of his passes for a combined 6,670 yards and throwing 49 touchdowns to 18 interceptions over his redshirt-sophomore and -junior seasons. The intrigue with Corral comes from what he adds on the ground. Over those final two seasons, Corral added 1,103 yards and 15 touchdowns rushing the ball. It should be noted the Corral hasn’t technically announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft, but he posted an announcement calling Ole Miss’s matchup against Vanderbilt his “final game” at the Rebel’s home stadium, a strong indication of his intentions.

While those two are widely considered the most likely quarterbacks to go in the first round, it is also a fairly popular opinion that three quarterbacks could be taken on day one of the Draft. Who that third quarterback will be is up to a lot of speculation.

Two of the more common names to pop up in that conversation are Nevada’s Carson Strong and Liberty’s Malik Willis. Strong had a breakout performance in the COVID-shortened season and built off of that success in his redshirt-junior year completing 70.2% of his passes for 4,186 yards and tossing 36 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 2021. Willis transferred from Auburn to Liberty for the 2020 season and led the Flames to a 10-1 season and a final ranking of 17th in the AP poll in Liberty’s third season in the FBS. Like Corral, Willis brings a lot to the table with his legs as well as his arms. In two years with the Flames, Willis threw for 44 touchdowns and ran for 25 more. He led quarterbacks in rushing yards in 2020 and finished third in that same category this year.

One of the two quarterbacks who finished with more rushing yards than Willis this season, is North Carolina’s Sam Howell. Before the 2021 season was played, Howell saw his name frequently in the top 5 of “way-too-soon” mock drafts. Many expected, with Howell as a third-year starter, that the Tar Heels would stake their claim at the top of the ACC, but a down year for the team hurt Howell’s draft stock. While Howell saw his passing numbers drop a bit from past seasons, he found a new talent for rushing the ball piling up 825 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.

The last name that seems to find its way into the conversations is Desmond Ridder. Yes, I said that most GMs don’t see Ridder as a first round pick, but most doesn’t mean all. Ridder has produced every season as a four-year starter saving his best year for last. And while he didn’t run the ball quite as much this year, he’s shown his abilities in past years racking up 650 yards in 2019 and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2020. Perhaps most importantly, Ridder knows how to win, achieving a 44-6 record in four years as a Bearcat, with the possibility of adding two more wins to that total.

So buckle up for an intriguing leadup to the 2022 NFL Draft. With so many differing opinions and valuations, chaos is sure to ensue as teams try to gauge just how long they can wait for their favorite quarterback prospect. The headline names may not be sexy and the certainty of teams’ decisions won’t resemble what we saw in 2012 when Indianapolis and Washington informed Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III of their decisions days before the Draft, but that shouldn’t make April 28, 2022, any less entertaining!