Steelers Bring Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong In For Friday Pre-Draft Visit

The Pittsburgh Steelers are closing out their week by having yet another player in town for a pre-draft visit and it’s Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong.

Strong, who played with a fractured bone in his wrist last season, is not required to go Indianapolis for a medical re-check this weekend, according to Friday media reports.

Last season, Strong, who measures in at 6-2, 217-pounds, caught 82 passes for 1,165 yards and 10 touchdowns. That gave him a two-year total of 157 catches at Arizona State. He decided to declare as underclassman in January after his solid junior season.

Strong is expected to be drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Steelers have brought quite a few wide receivers in for pre-draft visits, so they definitely appear to be ready to add to their depth at some point during the draft.

  • PittsburghSports

    Wow. So, now two possible 1st rd WRs have been brought in, they dined with another, DeVante Parker, and they also brought in Sammie Coats who’s likely a late 2nd rounder. That’s some serious interest.

  • steeltown

    Was thinking the same, obviously a lot of due diligence, but very interesting…

  • Double R

    Heard his interview with Pat Kirwan, very impressive kid. Student of the game, very serious personality, sounds ready to be a pro. No way we take him at 1.22, prob not there at 2.24

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m calling their bluff. Imo, they won’t address the wr until the latter rounds. If they do, I’d be very, very surprised!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Anyone whose mock drafts have us drafting 3 defensive players in rounds 1-2-3, better do some serious re-thinking. ‘Cuz it ain’t happening.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Prepare to be surprised. 🙂

  • T R

    hope u sitting down.

  • Vinhuddle

    I really like this guy, not sure enough to ignore other areas at #22 though.

  • falconsaftey43

    I’m telling you, Colbert has decided to only ever draft WRs. He is great at it. They’ll run 5 WR sets all the time. They will also split time as DBs on defense, cuz how could they be worse than what we have?

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Now that’s funny. Post of the day so far!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    But I still can’t see them going this high for WR. They historically like to draft linemen and LBs in the higher rounds and I agree with that. Last year in a deep draft they waited until round 4. This year, WR is once again fairly deep. I’m calling their bluff. Smokescreen? I hope so. Maybe this will cause one of those stupid teams to trade with the Steelers and reach, thus providing the Steelers with my best case scenario trade down with extra mid round picks. Not bloody likely, but I can hope.

  • JesusChristTheGodMan .

    You know we all think the Steelers will address the WR position at “some point” in the draft, most have believed it would be later rds. But every WR they have brought in have been top tier WRs, I’m starting to wonder if “some point” isn’t really going to be
    “first 3 rounds”. These aren’t late round guys they are meeting and bringing in, I’m wondering whatsup, is it something Wheaton said? Or is AB’s agent already calling the Steelers brass and whispering “top dollar” and hanging up, causing fear to run through the organization. Honestly I am clueless, or they really are just determined to take a guy they really want (BPA) rather than a need.

  • Joey

    Jaelen Strong is a beast! Loved watching him play football!

  • John

    Strong is really good. I also hope this is a direction the Steelers are going. Before the Ravens playoff game last year, it was my opinion that we did not have enough weapons on the outside to prevail. We are missing one quality WR — preferably a big one for red zone opportunities. Strong and Parker both would seem to fit the mold. The guy from USC, Nelson Agholor, is good too.

  • puCrepeaP

    uhhh ok.

  • Joey

    Nelson Agholor is great! There will be a kid next year from UCLA Duarte… he is going to be special.

  • puCrepeaP

    After missing out on Mike Evans last year, this was the guy I wanted to target in 2015. But Martavus turned out to be a nice surprise, so my interest waned.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Beyond the BPA angle (an important consideration), and the likelihood that the Steelers might not be able to keep all of their current receivers under contract long-term (a legitimate concern), I have to think the Steelers are looking at how effective Ben was through the air in 2014, how potent this offense was and can be…and have simply decided to add more “bullets to the gun.”

    And who can blame them? Maybe this is the year the Steelers throw the offensive gauntlet and say, “Stop us if you can, but we’re going to hang points on you.”

  • puCrepeaP

    John, you don’t think Bryant is that guy? I think he’s proved it enough, unless the Steelers staff know something we don’t.

  • John

    I think Bryant is still raw and I am not sure how much he will move forward. There is a reason he went in Round 4. I also have doubts about Wheaton. The only WR we can really trust is Brown. One more quality draft pick would really help. Plus, absent the D getting MUCH better in a hurry, we may want to outscore teams as a method to win. One more quality WR will allow us to do that.

  • steeltown

    Very true… 2yrs from now AB and Wheaton will both need new deals and lets be honest, we’re not going to spend EVERY draft pick on the defensive side of the ball. They WILL go BPA in the first Rd and possibly in the 2nd and 3rd as well. I just hope 2/3 go to the Defense.

  • steelster

    Why ?

  • puCrepeaP

    And there’s a reason why Anotonio Brown was drafted round 6, but what does that have to do with anything that they’ve done to prove themselves thusfar? Bryant has been a great Redzone target. I think another pass catching TE would round the crew out, but we have a tall, big, fast target in Bryant. Last year was spectacular, I can only expect improvement.

  • H.K. northern cali

    I saw this guy play alot up here. I watch all pack 12 games. He’s a beast!! That being said. Im not on board with a hight rnd receiver. We seem to do great later!!

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I think Bryant showed well for a rookie but we was drafted in the 4th round for a reason. He was inconsistent and has been know to disappear for entire games while in college. I really hope that changes in the pros but it is far too early to bank on it. I live in Arizona and I watched Jalen play a lot last season he has all the ability to be a Brandon Marshall/ Keyshawn Johnson type player. He has a big frame that he uses well to box out CBs and is awesome at catching the back should throws. He is big and strong, breaks tackles and also has the speed to break away after the first guy isn’t capable of tackling him. If he is there in the 2nd round it would be the steal of a lifetime. He may never put up the numbers AB does but he will be looked at by other teams as our number 1 guy because it will take at least two men to guard this guy on most plays. Imagine Strong and Bryant on the outside with AB throwing the little slot corners around and Heath getting the short 3rd and 5s like he’s been great at his entire career, and wow, that passing game is unstoppable. Add LeVeon Bell’s running (behind whats becoming a top five offensive line) and catches coming out of the back field and you def have one of if not thee best offenses in the league

  • John

    I agree with this. Bryant played at Clemson where Sammy Watkins and Hopkins were the real receivers. Bryant played well last year in his role, but there are more questions about him in an expanded role than with Sanders and Brown earlier. Those two were I think the best receivers on their teams in college and the question was whether the level of competition and their style of play would allow them to do it in the NFL. Bryant has always had an NFL body. His lack of production has been for other reasons to date. I hope he becomes the second coming of Jordy Nelson or something. But with Wheaton also a question (and perhaps a better slot player), one more big outside receiver would really help. Additionally, if anyone gets hurt, we would be really thin without one.

  • Vinhuddle

    Ditto!

  • Reno

    Bringing in 3 top WRs and dining with another is a head scratcher for me. Perhaps they are setting themselves up for trading down thinking the top OLBs and CBs will be gone. Perhaps you will get your wish B&GB.

  • Sack Master

    What makes you so certain?

  • PittsburghSports

    Not sure what his answer would be, but if you look at the history, it’s never happened. Only thing close is in 2003 we drafted 3 straight defenders, but Ike Taylor was a 4th rd pick. Troy and Alonzo Jackson were taken in the 1st and 2nd rd respectively. The only other time we drafted 3 straight defenders was in 1956(1st,1st,2nd rds).

  • SnoopDogg123

    Can he play cornerback or OLB?…. just kidding! But seriously, it seems like they’re going to add to their WR arsenial earlier than most would expect.

  • Matt Manzo

    It’s starting to look like they’re preparing for BPA, if a trade downs not possible?
    I agree with most below, Bryant and Wheaton still have questions and a top tier WR would solidify things a bit more.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Steelers draft history + Prospect visits + Annual press conf. comments

    I feel certain enough to make a friendly wager if you’re interested? 🙂

  • Ray

    You don’t bring in guys for visits to bluff. When you only have 30 you really can’t afford to. It’s telling that they are bringing these 1st-2nd round receivers in

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    That is the key issue (to me). Depth.

    Football is a game of attrition. You must have a next man up at key positions.

    If Antonio Brown were to get hurt, how badly would that affect our offense?… I don’t trust Wheaton or Bryant to carry us through the playoffs.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    You bring up a couple of interesting points.

    First of all (supposing we drafted Strong in round 2) we could instantly employ different alignments. Strong and Bryant on the outsides would open the short field for Brown and/or Wheaton (where they belong).

    But more importantly… RED ZONE. The one problem the Steelers continue to have year after year is red zone TD percentage. We see what Bryant was able to accomplish in his first year. I would expect the same or better from Strong.

    Some people will say drafting an elite WR would be overkill. I see it differently. By having two legit WR’s in front of him (Brown and Bryant), that puts the opposing team’s #3 CB on Jaelen Strong. Do you realize what a favorable match up that would be? Plus it takes away the double team.

    Also, by drafting another WR now, it gives us all the WR weapons we need for Ben’s final 4 years. Even if we lose Wheaton next year, we will still have 3 WR’s going into their primes as Ben’s window is closing. We won’t have to draft another WR until we draft a new QB. And they will be battle tested for the final 2 years.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    To me drafting a WR in round #1 would only make sense if the team is changing the offensive philosophy on some level. For instance, what if they see the TE as being less important to the receiving corp. They plan on moving their TE corp to a mostly blocking group more in the Spaeth mode than Miller mode. You end up going 4 wide more and 3 with a TE less. If, and I’m not convinced this isn’t more about seeing what these kids are about than drafting them, you want to change to more 4 wide, this makes sense. You get a WR in 1, an OLB (Orchard?) in 2, CB in 3rd (say Alex Carter), and a TE, S, or G in round #4.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Snoop –

    I hear what you’re saying but consider the math on this one. Who is going to have a greater impact on the Steelers point differential this season? A CB/OLB? Or a red zone WR?

    We could draft the best CB in the world, and if the opposing team throws at our other CB’s (Gay, Cortez) we still give up 7 points.

    But if we draft a red zone threat (Strong) he can give us +4 points in one single play. Even in game one. Do you realize the effect that has on our W/L record?

    I’m not saying we should neglect defense. (And we won’t.) We’re going to draft two CB’s, an OLB, and probably a safety as well. But what good does adding a crappy WR in the late rounds do for us RIGHT NOW? …

    The answer is… Nothing. He’s not surpassing Brown or Bryant and probably not even Wheaton without an injury. Where as an early round WR could force his way into new alignments very quickly. 3 wide red zone packages of:

    Bryant + Strong + Brown = Points

  • Sack Master

    Steelers draft history is irrelevant. The only thing relevant is this years needs. Last time I checked they’ve had numerous visits with defensive prospects. I am not saying I’m certain about this. But based on the current needs of the team, I think it is foolish to completely dismiss the possibility that defensive players will be chosen in the 1st three rounds. That’s all I’m saying. And I would be interested in a friendly wager. 🙂

  • Steve Johnson

    Another WR visit, potentially 1st Rd talent? Hmm! I’m starting to wonder what’s going on myself. Is this just due diligence? Or, once again, could the Front Office overlook the most important need they have on Defense, CB/DB’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took a WR if one drops to them at 1.22. There was a time when the Front Office believed Defense Wins Championships. I guess in two weeks we will see if they still believe in that philosophy.

  • Steve Johnson

    SMH

  • Toddy Bravo

    If any of the top 3 WRS drop, then maybe. I like Strong quite a bit too, but I only take a WR at 22 if a top 10-15 prospect drops and there is just too much value to pass up. Actually, the same theory applies to any position. BPA is BPA.

    Jaelen Strong is a late 1st rounder IMO and would be a slight reach I think. He’d be a (ahem)…strong 2nd rounder though if by some miracle he falls that far. Just don’t see it.

  • Vinhuddle

    Good point S.S.S. I don’t know if I’d ever really thought to look at it that way.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Fair Enough.

    Let’s say $50 donated to The Steelers Depot (by the loser)?

    And, after the draft, a one time post (by the loser) of…

    “(Sack Master or SSS) is a Steelers draft genius.”

    I’ve got one (or more) offensive players in rounds 1 + 2 + 3. You’ve got all three on defense. Any trades (involving rounds 1 thru 3) negates the bet.

    Deal?

  • cencalsteeler

    Boy Ray, I sure wish you were the GM for the Ravens. This is the time of year where chess matches are in full swing amongst organizations and GMs. If you don’t think teams are keeping tabs on who’s bringing in who, then I’d say you’ve been buffaloed. Like you say, they have 30 visits and only 7 picks. I guarantee you a few visits are set up to keep teams guessing as to what their draft intentions are.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Kenneth Witt posted some interesting points below about using a 3rd WR instead of a TE (which applies to red zone alignments as well).

    To me the only thing that matters is winning. And you win by scoring more points than your opponent. I don’t care if we win 20-17 or 30-27.

    And right now we are closer to scoring 30 ppg than we are to holding opponents to 17 ppt, in my opinion.

  • Heather Danis

    You could be right though some have him as a 1st round pick in the top 25. Only the Steelers know where they think he falls. This may also be for show to see if the move gets a team picking after us to try to move up if they feel that we could be serious about taking a WR if all of the top OLBs and CBs are gone. I like him as a player and think it would drive Baltimore and New England nuts if we were to select him, but only if the FO truly considers him BPA.

  • Heather Danis

    I’m not saying that there isn’t still some development and scheme adjustments to support the play of the two WRs you mention, but I wouldn’t be unhappy with the pick in any way if they picked Strong. He’s another tall, fast, talented WR who will insulate our WR corps from injury while, yes, giving us more threat in a 4-wide set – any time we ever used it. I think, for the time being, the offense has to remain the strength of the team while the defense is restocked and the younger players gain more experience. Such a move in a BPA scenario will do that, as will a top OL if one is available but surprisingly the team has not yet brought in La’el Collins, Andrus Peat or Ereck Flowers who are projected to potentially be available at 22. Their visits aren’t done yet so time will tell if they open the portal to OL prospects.

  • Heather Danis

    I agree that it is prudent to look at this as a positive for strengthening the team overall if a top tier WR is selected as BPA at 22. It offers so many advantages to the here-and-now strength of the football team, as you aptly pointed out. I like Strong, not sure about Perriman because of his catching consistency though he did better in 2014 than 2013, and I like Parker. The more points the offense scores, the more pressure on the other team to do the same.

  • Heather Danis

    I thank you for your personal assessment having watched him. I’ve been hoping for some time now that what was written about him matched up well to tape because I liked what I saw and firmly believe that if we don’t take him then Baltimore will as they need a successor to Steve Smith. Not a good reason to take him as the BPA at 22 if other needs can be addressed first with talent, but if he is, I’d rather have him on our team than face him 2x a year with Baltimore while our secondary is being reloaded.

  • Heather Danis

    Absolutely wonderful concept as it also opens up the TE more because of the height differential on ball control drives since that negated double team from a Safety will also have to worry about the TE and the LBs will still need to worry about our RB out of the backfield. It’s almost like drafting a receiving TE threat without the added TE weight. It still puts enormous pressure on the defense in the middle and smaller CBs on fly and post patterns to out jump him. His explosion measurable are also tremendous so he’ll be able to use his 4.4 speed and jumping ability to maximum advantage.

  • Heather Danis

    Agree with you. If our top 3 WRs took a hit due to injury, the only insulation we have right now is DHB or what would be a developmental mid-to-late round pick. I agree with what you wrote above about impacting outcome of games this year as opposed to next year or after year 2 in their contract. As a BPA with impact, a top-tier WR or OL makes sense.

  • Heather Danis

    The FO knows the condition of the defense at OLB, CB and Safety so I doubt very much that ignore the need to infuse talent at those positions should the BPA in 1st round ultimately end up being a WR or OL prospect. Even if they have to move up using a pick from next year’s draft to make it happen, I have every confidence that they’ll shore those positions up so that the talent infused doesn’t take 2-3 years to develop before it helps.

  • Heather Danis

    I understand your point and certainly he did do well and will hopefully improve even more this year. However, I’m quite sure that the FO knows that DHB, while tall and fast, is not a top-tier WR threat and cannot command the attention of a defense when added to the other 3. This gives us much more firepower and a better chance to handle what will be an extremely difficult schedule this year against some pretty top flight offenses. If the FO is not happy with the type of defensive talent available at 22, this gives us a better chance to hang in those games while those defensive players we draft get settled in and adjust to the talent and speed of the game.

  • Heather Danis

    Well, if they are not sold on Bud Dupree being a 1st round talent for 22, unlike the media draft pundits, and no one else at OLB is there that they like and all of the top CBs are gone, to include KJ, then I can definitely see them going WR or OL. At this point, however, they haven’t brought in any projected 1st round OL, at least I think they haven’t, so I have to believe they’re looking at the potential to get even stronger on offense to put every team they play in the worst hurt-locker they can while the offense is on the field.

  • Heather Danis

    Nice research. Thanks. I agree that it’s possible that, if all defensive likes for value at 22 are gone, then the offense gets stronger. After that, I think it’s definitely possible to go defense 2-4, with 5 being an OL and the 2 6ths being split between RB and something else. Depends on whether they want to wait that long to get the RB we’re all projecting them to draft. There’s obviously good value at RB between rounds 3-6 depending on what they want in skill set.

  • Heather Danis

    Fully agree. This visit could go both ways because he’s a terrific young talent and because his draft range is anywhere between the early 20’s and early 2nd round depending on what predict list you look at.

  • Heather Danis

    I don’t think they’d overlook that area of need, but they’re not going to reach for something they do not believe is there at 22 and I wouldn’t blame them. If they think, when the team is on the clock, that they can get the talent they need in 2-4, and they feel that a top-tier WR or OL can help improve the team now, then why not? I’m game for improving the team however we have to do it while the certain portions of the defense get infused with more talent and youth.

  • Heather Danis

    I believe they also met with Perriman.

  • Kevin Koi

    I find it interesting that we all seem to think that having Brown, Heyward-Bey, Wheaton, and Bryant, means we are set at WR? I see us as only having one sure thing WR. Bey is special teams only, and depth. Wheaton has been inconsistent (when healthy), and nobody knows how good Bryant will be after half a season. Colbert said a long time ago, the best way to improve a D right away is to score more points. Rookie LBs and CBs have a hard time starting for the Steelers. They want to win now, so taking a stud WR isn’t a bad idea. I’d be more shocked if they draft a CB in the first round. They hate first round busts. Nothing is more hit or miss then a first round CB. First round grade interviews so far: 3 WRs, LB Gregory and CB Peters. The CB and OLB are riddled with off the field issues. It’s not all a smoke screen. They want to win now, and CB and OLB are deep in rounds 2 and 3. I’m happy with LB Orchard in round 2, and CB Carter in round 3. (also pre-draft interviews) I think if anything they will draft a WR in the first 2 days of the draft.

  • Reno

    After last years surprise 1st round pick nothing would surprise me now. Without insider information or a crystal ball it’s all speculation regarding their current approach. For those that were clamoring for an OL if BPA they have not shown the interest with their pre-draft visits. But their approach to the WR position seems like overkill.

    Is it because they have a genuine interest or it’s all part of the draft strategy? Teams will trade up for a playmaking WR before trading up for a G. Or perhaps Perriman and Strong would be strongly considered if somehow they slid into the 2nd round. Maybe they know their defense is at least a year away and they plan on outscoring their opponents.

    Personally I would prefer an OL over a WR if they chose offense over defense in the first round. It would be more of a needs based pick with an eye to upgrade Foster and takes into consideration contract status.

    There are a few issues if they selected a WR in the 1st and took the outscore them approach. First off they use very little 4 WR and 5 WR sets. Other than the no huddle hurry up offense those sets were rarely used if I’m not mistaken. It’s not in Haley’s nature to throw the ball all over the field. When they tried to get Archer involved Bell had emerged out of the backfield and Bryant emerged at WR. There simply were not enough footballs/touches to go around for Archer and frankly they didn’t need his production. If they selected a WR the Archer experiment will be over. And lastly, this offense has serious redzone issues. They won’t be able to outscore their opponents on a consistent basis until they get it rectified. Drafting a WR won’t magically fix their redzone issues which I think is a combination of playcalling and player execution.

    But hey lets draft the BPA come high water even though we didn’t last year and even if it means splitting hairs. We didn’t fill a need but nobody will accuse us of reaching but we might outsmart ourselves.

  • Kevin Reich

    Does this mean they would rather take a WR than draft TE Maxx Williams? Assuming top corners/OLB are gone.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    He could easily become our best WR

  • puCrepeaP

    So you are saying use our first round pick on a WR4? Thing is, we don’t have to take someone at 22, there is an option to move back and pick up some extra picks if there is no one of value at 22. Yes I agree that someone like Parker, or Strong are more than worth a 22 pick, but there are some HUGE needs on defense. Ones that can’t be addressed with a single pick, so stocking up mid round selections to me is better than drafting a position that is probably the least needed on the squad.