The game speeds up at the next level. That phrase itself is interpreted a host of different ways with some believing that means a team needs to have a quarterback with mobility in the NFL to be successful, perhaps like Carson Strong.
But perhaps what we should be looking at is the history of quarterbacks who have been successful so much so that they fall into the “legendary” category. Nearly all are pure pocket passers and in today’s NFL, the best quarterbacks are those who excel from the pocket but who can also run or use their legs when called upon to do so.
Former Nevada quarterback Carson Strong is a player who fits that definition, despite many knocking him for being a “statue.” Quarterbacks aren’t asked to move a ton in the Air Raid offense and after all, when the offensive line and supporting cast does its job adequately in any system, a passer shouldn’t have to move a great deal.
Take former Stanford quarterback and current Houston Texans signal caller Davis Mills. He faced similar scrutiny just a couple years ago when he was trying to go through mobility/escapability drills to show what he could do. Just because a quarterback isn’t asked to do something with a particular team doesn’t mean he’s incapable of it and Mills has shown that in the NFL.
In regards to Strong, while he’s no Lamar Jackson, something he’s noted himself on several occasions is that he still has the ability to extend plays with his legs and rush the ball on his own from time to time if his team asks him to do so. In offseason showcases like the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl and the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine, he’s proven that, making throws on the run and showing both the ability to evade pressure and use mobility in a limited capacity.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 22, 2022
This accomplished a couple of things for Strong. It helped him put unsubstantiated rumors of him having long-term knee injury to rest and shows that he can keep up with the trends of the league, which seem to be shifting away from highly athletic quarterbacks to more of a quarterback who is first and foremost a solid passer but can shift around just enough.
If anything, Strong has made the most of learning to grow even more from a mental perspective and getting the ball out with added quickness because of the limitations he had with his knee at one point.
“I think that I did have limitations out there and like I’ve said before, I’m not Lamar Jackson by any means,” Strong said at the Senior Bowl. “I always had to have an answer, always had to have a plan. If I got stuck with the ball in my hands, I was kind of sh– out of luck there for a little while.”
With everything Strong can add to a team in regards to pure accuracy and being able to make even the most difficult of throws at all levels of the field, there shouldn’t be any concern about how he’ll transition in the long-term after he completed 70% of his passes for 4,186 yards with 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions – even if he never recorded a single rushing score in four years at Nevada.
“I’m confident in my ability to extend plays and move in the pocket,” Strong said. “I’ve shown that. I’m going to be able to go under center and have the ability to do more play-action and roll out. Whatever a team wants me to execute unless it’s read-option or power-read, I feel like I can do that.”