2022 Dynasty Draft Profile: Pierre Strong Jr


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2022 Dynasty Draft Profile: Pierre Strong Jr

To kick off each dynasty profile from the 2022 skill position draft class, a dated positional ranking will be presented, relevant to that prospect’s position. As the profiles have been published, the rankings have evolved. The number of RBs that are either declared underclassmen or seniors exhausting their eligibility – at least the ones that have publicly declared their intention to pursue a career in the NFL – currently stands at 98. And that is far from an exhaustive number since I’ve filtered out all of the backs who have zero chance of being drafted from the very long list testing at a collegiate Pro Day. Without further delay, here are the newly-expanded top-20 RB rankings from the 2022 class as of publication:

Class RankPlayerCollegeAge
RB1Breece HallIowa State20.7
RB2Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State21.3
RB3Isaiah SpillerTexas A&M20.5
RB4Rachaad WhiteArizona State23.1
RB5James CookGeorgia22.4
RB6Kevin HarrisSouth Carolina21.3
RB7Kennedy BrooksOklahoma23.4
RB8Pierre Strong Jr.South Dakota State23.2
RB9Hassan HaskinsMichigan22.3
RB10Brian Robinson Jr.Alabama22.9
RB11D'Vonte PriceFIU22.6
RB12Bryant KobackToledo22.9
RB13Dameon PierceFlorida22.0
RB14Tyler BadieMissouri22.0
RB15Zamir WhiteGeorgia22.4
RB16Ty ChandlerNorth Carolina23.8
RB17Abram SmithBaylor23.4
RB18Kyren WilliamsNotre Dame21.5
RB19Jerome FordCincinnati22.4
RB20Tyrion Davis-PriceLSU21.9

Playing for a small school in Little Rock, Arkansas, Pierre Strong Jr. did not follow the same path as the other top-10 RBs in the rankings above. John L. McClellan High School doesn’t even exist these days. However, prior to the school closing, Strong ran circles around his Class 5A opponents. Strong made an instant impact whenever he touched the ball as a HS sophomore, averaging 8.56 YPC and 12.5 YPR as a 15-year-old. The time was ripe for Strong to make his mark the following season. He ran for 2,248 yards (11.96 YPC!) en route to powering Little Rock McClellan to the Arkansas 5A State Championship game. The Lions were ultimately out-classed by a score of 50-30 by Layne Hatcher’s Pulaski Academy squad.

Prior to his senior season, Strong was invited to participate in The Opening Regionals at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Unfortunately for Strong, his conditioning wasn’t quite up to the expectations of Power Five programs. The following table explains:

Testing from The Opening Finals Presented by Nike+ in Arlington, Texas (March 12th, 2016)
PlayerHeightWeight40-Yard DashPro ShuttleVertical
Pierre Strong Jr.5-111924.664.4034.9

Strong had some lukewarm interest from Arkansas TE coach and recruiting coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. until those measurements were recorded. They ended up backing out of their pursuit, as did Kansas. But Strong used it as motivation, blazing a path that would have resulted in topping his numbers from the season prior when, of course it had to be in a rematch with Pulaski Academy, Strong suffered a hairline fracture in his right collarbone that forced him to miss the final three games. He was still recognized as the Arkansas 5A Offensive Player of the Year and selected for the All-USA Arkansas Second Team.

Despite retesting with a 4.48-second time in the 40 – confirmed by 247Sports — Strong ended up collecting strong interest from only the FCS ranks. Scholarship offers were extended from Central Arkansas, Eastern Illinois, Missouri State and, 842 miles north of his home, South Dakota State. Early on, Strong had no desire to transplant his future to the bitter cold of Brookings, South Dakota, but their persistence eventually paid off. Strong ended up taking a redshirt in his first year on campus.

During his redshirt freshman season, Strong found himself in a four-headed rotation. When two of the backs fell to injury, it should’ve been Strong’s moment to pounce. Instead, a sprained ankle sapped his production for three consecutive games. Then Strong went white-hot nuclear over his final six games. Pierre averaged 152.7 rushing yards and 1.83 TDs to earn the honor as the MVFC Freshman of the Year. He took his game to a more consistent level to post his first 1K rushing yards season with SDSU, earning First Team All-MVFC honors.

Garnering another First Team All-MVFC placement the following season, it was a schedule split between winter and spring due to the pandemic and one that ended in a 23-21 defeat to Sam Houston State in the FCS National Championship game. It was also a season where Strong’s production averages dipped a bit. Strong definitely took notice, smashing his atoms together for his finest season in Brookings. Averaging 112.4 rushing YPG (7.03 YPC) and scoring 18 TDs, Strong found recognition with another First Team All-MVFC and his first selection as an FCS First Team All-American.

Combine Measurement Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Pierre Strong Jr.65th48th41st65th67th47th52nd

From a 4.66-second 40-time as a HS junior, to 4.48 after HS senior season and down to 4.37 at the NFL Combine, Strong shaped his body from a rough stone into a faceted gem. The percentiles (below) speak for themselves:

Prospect Athletic Testing Percentiles (Last 10 Seasons)
Player40-Yard Dash20-Split10-SplitPro Shuttle3-ConeVerticalBroadBench
Pierre Strong Jr.82nd73rd73rd57th*65th*70th70th40th

*From South Dakota State Pro Day on March 23

From the very first to the very last carry from his ‘21 season, Strong exited his backfield as if shot out of a cannon. It was such a welcome sight to see a young man with such athleticism run with a very low center of gravity, with good bend and a wide base. Strong made it nearly impossible for defenders to get a hit on his ribs. And he hits the gas when you see that pad level drop. Put it on the board, when those shoulder pads go down, Strong is going to register a positive gain. While he will drop his helmet in anticipation of contact, Strong locks those eyes forward.

Specific Blocking Specialty/Success
PlayerCollegeGap/ZoneSpecialtyCarry % (OZ)Rush Yd % (OZ)Rush TD% (OZ)
Pierre Strong Jr.South Dakota StateBothOutside Zone (OZ)32%46%38%

Let’s put it into print before we dive into his collection of weaponry. Surgeon General’s Warning: gaps presented to Strong unfilled can be detrimental to defensive health.

Strong is a shifty runner. He consistently places considerable pressure on multiple defenders with his twisting, cutting, directional changes, explosion and acceleration. Side-step, slide-step, jump cut and cutback weaponry all in the same package. Strong has the lateral agility to escape and bounce outside. He’s gifted with exceptionally quick feet, good vision, overall balance and his hips are on a swivel.

Future Success Based on Collegiate Experience
BlockingMesh Point
PlayerInside Zone (IZ)Outside Zone (OZ)ManPulling O-linemenRead OptionRPO
Pierre Strong Jr.❓❓❓

Strong played within a mixed zone-and-gap blocking scheme. But he will need additional seasoning if inserted into an NFL scheme with heavy Man and/or Counter blocking setups. The Jackrabbits didn’t use many RPOs, but Strong crushed on the opportunities he was provided. South Dakota State did call plenty of read options, where Strong was successful in spite of never taking any of those carries into the end zone. Pierre presses the line well to set up his blocking. He will shadow the path of his pulling blockers, but would classify his patience as average or slightly above.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis8412.046.60.50520.6219.384184.98
Sony Michel5513.557.00.33470.8515.813867.02
Cedric Benson9616.762.70.331201.2513.338338.68
Ben Tate5110.646.30.27671.318.063476.80
Ronnie Hillman568.835.30.21741.326.685249.36
Ronald Jones II558.939.50.33761.386.4257110.38
Julius Jones9413.653.90.231501.608.531,02910.95
Thomas Jones18014.958.80.383081.718.692,02311.24
Clinton Portis11319.787.80.662472.199.032,01817.86
Joseph Addai7814.057.10.501912.455.731,44818.56
Pierre Strong Jr.*7912.8108.61.28760.966.507569.57

*Three seasons of data from Little Rock McClellan High School and four seasons from South Dakota State University

As you can see from the table above, Strong has limited receiving production during his career. It doesn’t help that we don’t have his receiving production from his final two prep seasons. Strong will allow some throws to get into his body. His hands appear to be perfectly capable, but will occasionally lose concentration while waiting for the ball to arrive. Strong does show some quality bend to rescue poor throws. However, he also telegraphs his routes due to rounded turns. Like a few other RBs in this class, Strong has barely tapped into his promising receiving potential.

Pierre Strong Jr.'s Weight Gain History
YearClassSourceWeight (lbs.)
2014HS Sophomore247Sports180
2015HS JuniorThe Opening192
2016HS SeniorHudl193
2017True FreshmanRivals195
2018Redshirt FreshmanSouth Dakota State195
2019Redshirt SophomoreSouth Dakota State200
2020Super SophomoreSouth Dakota State210
2021Super JuniorSouth Dakota State205
2022DeclaredNFL Combine207

Using his blazing speed and sudden dance moves, Strong can make defenders miss on all levels of the field. His explosiveness can be seen when leaping out of low tackle attempts – just don’t expect to see him attempting to clean-hurdle over defenders. Strong showed off his quality spacial awareness, particularly in avoiding shoestring tackles from behind. He is strong enough to carry defensive backs on his back. And he actually has a willing physicality mindset – more so than Isaiah Spiller. Strong has never lost a single fumble in four seasons with SDSU (631 carries).

Pierre Strong's 2021 Rushing Breakdown
Gain% of Carries% of Yardage% of TDs
10-19 Yards10.9%20.4%11.1%
20-29 Yards3.3%10.6%11.1%
30+ Yards5.4%35.0%27.8%

Strong digs his foot into the dirt and truly explodes through his gap redirects. Built with a second gear to burst through the line, Strong chains together his moves in the open field without losing his momentum. He also frequently shows off an excellent spin move that he pulls off without sacrificing balance. It’s as simple as this — the only comparable jump-cutter in this class is Kenneth Walker III. Just take a look at his distribution of explosive runs from last season in the table above. This kid could be special.

Path to NFL Touches
PlayerEarly DownsShort YardageGoal LineChange-of-PaceUp-TempoPassing Downs
Pierre Strong Jr.🚫

Only the elite-of-the-elite are without flaws in their games. For Strong, he’s on the older side and will enter Week 1 of the NFL season at 23 years, nine months. He also gave several examples of being prone to influence from crafty, two-gapping D-linemen. That’s a bad habit that needs to be broken. We want to see Strong construct his gains rather than simply running after daylight.

Pierre uses stiff arm more to feel his way through traffic on most occasions, rather than to keep defenders at a distance.

Like the majority of gifted runners, Strong will require a coaching overhaul to his blitz recognition, anchor and frame setup in pass pro. He may also need a kick in the pants in the effort department when tasked to protect his QB. He may have limited power to move the pile, but don’t assume he’s unable in goal-to-go situations. Strong was actually the most efficient RB in this class at the goal line. And it’s obvious why. Speed, burst, acceleration, explosiveness, vision… all of the same traits that have already been pointed out.

Strong can almost be too frenetic, at times. And, like most non-power backs, he’s prone to single tacklers. As you can see in the table below, outside of the split season during the pandemic, Strong has been the epitome of improvement. His blocking is a mess and, from the data we do have, his receiving production wasn’t outstanding. That said, his YAC after the catch was exceptional all four seasons and he generated greater than 1.25 YPRR in back-to-back seasons prior to ‘21. That’s more than enough for an NFL staff to coach to the next level. Strong already has all of the tools on the ground to be a special addition. It’s not even up for debate, Strong is right at home among the top-nine RBs in this class.

Pierre Strong Jr.'s Career Production
HS Sophomore4.538.58.560.601.4017.50.3012.4
HS Junior14.5172.911.962.31???31.1
HS Senior16.2158.19.752.78???32.5
True FreshmanRedshirt Season
Redshirt Freshman9.893.09.540.920.557.00.0816.5
Redshirt Sophomore13.
Super Sophomore14.678.65.400.332.2219.80.1115.3
Super Junior16.0112.

2021 Video Recommendations: Week 1 at Colorado State, Week 4 at Indiana State, Week 6 vs. Southern Illinois, Week 7 at Western Illinois, Week 8 vs. Northern Iowa, Week 9 at Youngstown State, Week 10 vs. North Dakota State, Week 11 at South Dakota, Week 13 vs. UC Davis, FCS Playoff Semifinals vs. Montana State

Optimal Landing Spots: Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Washington Commanders

Film Review Comp (2021): Antonio Gibson

Overall Comp (Factoring size, athleticism, tape and level of collegiate production): Miles Sanders

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.