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NFL

Cole Strange: New England Patriots make surprise 2022 NFL Draft pick

Guard Cole Strange wasn’t expected to be selected in the first round of the Draft, but the New England Patriots took the 23-year-old with the 29th pick.

Update:
Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chattanooga guard Cole Strange is announced as the twenty-ninth overall pick to the New England Patriots during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has opted to strengthen his offensive line with an unexpected first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Strange had been tipped for second, third round of Draft

With its first pick in Las Vegas, New England chose former Chattanooga guard Cole Strange. Originally, the Patriots had the 20th pick in the 2022 Draft, but the franchise dropped to 29 after a trade with the Chiefs.

Belichick’s decision has caused widespread surprise, as Strange was not considered to be a first-round talent. On the official NFL website, he was predicted to go in the second round, while other sources anticipated a third-round selection for the 23-year-old.

A factor that significantly pushed down Strange’s value is his weight, 307 lbs, which is considered low for an offensive lineman. Overall, the guard spent five years in the NCAA, making 49 appearances, 43 as a starter.

Cole Strange en el Senior Bowl
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Strange joins Patriots from team that also regularly ran ball

Strange’s arrival at the Patriots is understandable, however, if you consider that he is joining from an organisation that prioritised its rushing offence. It accounted for almost 65% of Chattanooga’s offensive plays last season, according to Bleacher Report. In the 2021 campaign, the Patriots registered the eighth-most rushing yards in the NFL, with a total of 2,151.

What’s more, Strange arrives in Foxborough as a potential long-term replacement for Joe Thuney, who left New England in 2021 to sign for the Chiefs. Last season, with Michael Onweny and James Ferentz at guard, the position proved one of the Patriots’ weakest areas.

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