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Jaelen Strong Flexes His Football IQ

Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong has a physical presence on the field, but says he enjoys gaining an edge mentally in the film room.*

When wide receiver Jaelen Strong opted to attend Pierce College after a storied four years at West Philadelphia Catholic High School, he wasn't sure what the junior college had in store for him.

Here's a gallery from the wide receiver workouts that took place at the 2015 NFL Combine.

He said he just put his faith and heart into everything he did.

"I always had it," Strong said. "Even at West Catholic, I knew I had the chance to play at this level [NFL] if I just put my mind to it and work hard enough. I'm going to work hard every day."

In 10 games at Pierce, Strong caught 67 passes for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns, raking as high as No. 8 in the nation at the wide receiver position by ESPN in 2012.

Strong went on to commit to Arizona State University, where he played in 26 games in two seasons, recording 157 receptions for 2,287 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Strong said he owes his continued production to his physical presence on the field.

"Anything you throw in my vicinity, I'll try to go get it," he said.

Strong said his on-field maturity and knowledge – traits he said he gained from Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham – separate him from the pool of wide receivers in the draft.

"I'm very, very smart when it comes to getting up on the board and recognizing coverages, recognizing hot reads and things like that," Strong said. "That's something the media doesn't know about me. You guys see what I put on film. You don't really get the chance to talk to me about the game of football and how much I do know about football."

Strong has drawn comparisons to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is also very physical and has a vast catch radius.

Strong said it's "just an honor" to be mentioned in the same sentence as Fitzgerald.

 "He's going to finish as one of the greatest receivers ever to play this game," Strong said. "I can't wait to get to the NFL and see how we match up."

Strong said he models his play after an assortment of players, from Brandon Marshall to Antonio Brown. And when he wants to improve upon his skills and presence within the red zone, he'll look at tight end Jimmy Graham's film.

"I know he's a tight out, but he loves to box the cornerbacks out and go get the ball," Strong said. "That's just something I look forward to adding to my game as well."

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