Over the last few weeks, the team at The Draft Network has been releasing their initial 2022 mock drafts. Past entries have seen the TDN team concentrate on offensive tackles in the opening round, selecting Darian Kinnard of Kentucky and Charles Cross of Mississippi State.
In the third mock released in three weeks, the network’s Jordan Reid shifts focus back to the most popular topic for the franchise this college season. A former college quarterback at North Carolina Central, Reid went away from the SEC and the offensive line, going to the Mountain West and selecting Nevada’s Carson Strong to replace Ben Roethlisberger at QB. Reid writes:
“With Ben Roethlisberger likely entering his last hoorah with the team, the QB of the future likely isn’t on the roster. Nevada’s Strong is an ideal candidate to take over as the team’s long-time stalwart. An accurate and decisive thrower, he has the skill set that translates well in Pittsburgh’s scheme. Still needing to prove that he can take care of the football similar to last season, Strong is a prime candidate to take a massive leap forward during his junior season.”
Strong set himself up for a breakout over the last two seasons as the Wolfpack’s starter. He passed for 2,335 yards and 11 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2019 across 10 games, and then in one fewer game in 2020, threw for 2,858 yards and 27 touchdowns. More importantly for a quarterback whom Reid acknowledged needs to prove he can take care of the football, Strong reduced his interception numbers from seven to four that season.
Strong has led Nevada to a winning record each of his two seasons as the starter. Though he is rarely mocked ahead of the current top-projected QBs, Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler and North Carolina’s Sam Howell (who went with the first two picks of Reid’s mock), Strong has one of the biggest arms in the class and is among the potential fits for the Steelers given his ability to throw it deep, which would bring out the most of Pittsburgh’s current athletic group of receivers.
However, Strong is a pocket passer. He does not have the upside Roethlisberger did when it comes to mobility, at least not as he enters the 2021 college season. For more information on Strong, see our summer scouting series profile on the Nevada QB.
Strong and Nevada play their first game of the 2021 season on September 4, at California. The Wolfpack will also face a bigger test two weeks later, against Kansas State.