The New England Patriots selected South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong Jr. with pick No. 127 in the 2022 NFL Draft. He’ll join a crowded backfield in New England, featuring backs Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and James White.
Strong did it all on offense as a four-year starter for the Jackrabbits. Most notably, he surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in three separate seasons, including a Football Championship Subdivision-best 1,686 last season. He ended his career with more than 4,500 rushing yards, the third-most in SDSU history. He also recorded at least 20 receptions in each of his two final seasons and tallied 49 touchdowns — 40 rushing, three receiving and six more passing. Here is what you need to know about Strong.
Undersized at 5-foot-11 and a little more than 200 pounds, Strong burned FCS defenders for years with his 4.37-40 speed. That tied for the best 40-yard dash time for any RB at the 2022 NFL Combine. He is a big-play threat as 10 of his touchdowns came from at least 50 yards out. He has serviceable pass-catching chops and good field vision. He doesn’t carry much power when he runs, which you would expect from a back his size. He seems best suited as a third-down playmaker. Strong will have to improve his blocking techniques to really hold down such a role, however.
Fantasy football impact
Like most guys drafted on day three, Strong is a much better dynast fantasy league pick, rather than the regular season-long fantasy. In his first season in New England, I would expect him to have a special teams impact, but not much more than that.