INDIANAPOLIS — Carson Strong’s process through the draft and his football career are a tumultuous one. A terrible knee injury in high school set him back, and he has dealt with knee issues ever since the injury. In the 2021 offseason, Strong got surgery for a knee injury.
It was supposed to keep Strong out for an entire year, but he cut it short and returned in six months instead. That meant that Strong played his entire 2021 season injured and not one hundred percent. Although it feels better now, the tape is not as good as it could have been. That is something Strong emphasizes about his journey.
“Everyone’s got a different opinion but I know I’m ready to go,” Strong said. “Everybody’s judging me based on the tape that I put out last season, which makes total sense. But I wasn’t healthy. I had surgery that required a year for recovery, I came back in six months. My dad tried to get me to not play the first part of the season, but I was like there’s no way. I have to go out there and play for my team. So what I put on tape this year wasn’t the full me.”
With the knee feeling much better now, however, Strong is ready to put the mobility concerns behind him. While in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Strong believes he was able to show teams a special skillset that he can bring. While he acknowledges he is not some dynamite athletic quarterback, he also feels that he is much better suited to roll out and move on the run than given credit for overall.
“What I proved at the Senior Bowl is that I can move fluidly and smoothly,” Strong said. “No, I’m not going to stiff-arm someone and hurdle them and go run a 50-yard touchdown. But I can extend plays, I can do a play-action boot pass. I stepped in the pocket, got 10 yards, and slid when I could at practice. I showed that I can move a little bit, I didn’t wear a knee brace, it’s way better than it was during the season. So I think I proved that already.”
If Strong can prove to be mobile enough for items in the modern NFL, it will do wonders for his draft stock. Different teams will have differing thresholds. He will not be the guy that will run a designed QB power play, but maybe, Strong can move in the pocket enough to assuage concerns about his lack of mobility.