Nevada signal-caller Carson Strong is QB1 as of right now because of both the exceptional performance he’s put on and the underwhelming respective performances we’ve seen out of the two quarterbacks ahead of him—Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and UNC’s Sam Howell. It’s going to take a lot to move Strong off the No.1 spot. He’s been a steady riser who has rightfully started garnering a lot of attention as more people have noticed him (he’s seemed to get a good pop of interest this offseason).
Strong possesses the primary traits you want in a quarterback, with consistent accuracy, good ball placement, a quick release, high level of mental processing and the intangibles you want—offensive coordinator Matt Mumme has noted his leadership ability and his ability to connect with his teammates in a unique way he hasn’t necessarily seen some of his previous quarterbacks do (on top of calling the most “savvy” quarterback he’s ever had).
Here’s a look at three things Strong needs to do to hold onto the title of QB1.
If there’s one word to describe what Strong has been throughout his career for the Wolf Pack, it’s “consistent.” He was also one of the few quarterbacks projected at or toward the top of this year’s class who performed the way we expected him to in the season opener.
Last season, Strong completed 70.1% for 2,858 yards with 27 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kicking off the season this year, Strong completed 56.4% of his passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. We counted no less than seven drops by receivers in that 2021 debut, meaning those numbers should have been even higher than that.
Looking back between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Strong’s completion percentage rose by 7% and his touchdown-to-interception ratio improved significantly. If he can continue this upward momentum, rising consistently with the expectations, it’s hard to see a scenario in which he falls off of QB1.
Elite level of accuracy and dedication to doing something historic
Every quarterback seems to have a type of “it” factor and something that helps separate them. For Strong, the 70.1% completion percentage from last year is impressive enough in and of itself since the majority of other quarterbacks are plenty satisfied just to be hanging around 65%. But Strong has already told us that his goal is to complete 85% of his passes this season, something that he seems to have all the necessary traits to accomplish (even though it is admittedly a lofty goal). That would shatter the current record, but perhaps he could stand a chance at reaching it at least come close to it If his receivers can clean up some of the drops the corps suffered in the last game.
Outside of that, Strong is routinely putting the ball in the right places at the right time on the vast majority of his passes.
The Deep Ball
Another thing that’s so striking about Strong’s game is his deep ball. It’s difficult enough to find an accurate quarterback and one who can put enough zip on it to deliver a catchable ball way downfield. Strong delivered one of the most impressive—if not the most impressive—deep ball in Week 1.
Take a look at this one, which was delivered roughly from midfield all the way to the endzone.
And take a look at the accuracy down the sideline on this one:
This is just one game of film that we’re looking at with these, so it’s going to be exciting to watch Strong continue to sling the rock all season like this.