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New England Patriots select SDSU’s Pierre Strong Jr. in NFL Draft’s fourth round

Strong was picked 127th overall and was the 10th running back drafted.

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South Dakota State's Pierre Strong Jr. celebrates a touchdown run in the first quarter of an FCS semifinal game on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 at Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Montana. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
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LAS VEGAS — Pierre Strong Jr. didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called on Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

With the 22nd pick of the fourth round and 127th selection overall, the New England Patriots selected Strong, making the Little Rock, Arkansas, native the third South Dakota State player to be drafted since 2018.

Strong was the leading rusher in the Football Championship Subdivision in 2021, carrying 240 times for 1,686 yards and 18 touchdowns. For his collegiate career, the two-time All-American rushed for 4,527 yards and accounted for 49 total touchdowns.

Predicted anywhere from a third to sixth-round selection by draft experts, Strong was the 10th running back drafted overall and the fourth within the first 22 picks of the fourth round.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at ldierks@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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