Cole Strange’s Patriots selection reportedly considered by NFL executives the most surprising move of Day 1


“I was shocked to see [Strange] go so soon.”

Cole Strange’s arrival in New England didn’t come without a few odd looks.

  • Bill Belichick has been right about these kinds of draft picks before, so let’s wait and see

  • 5 things to know about Patriots first-round pick Cole Strange

Day one of the 2022 NFL Draft brought several surprises.

Only one quarterback was selected in the first round of the draft, two trades involving players (including one of the league’s top young receivers) were made, and no running backs were selected in the first round for the first time in eight years.

But for many, the biggest surprise of the night came when the Patriots took on Chattanooga guard Cole Strange with the No. 29 overall pick. Strange was noted by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. as a third-round pick, which makes the Patriots’ decision to use a first-round pick quite shocking.

Strange’s selection sent shocked responses across the football world, with none more visible than Rams coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead’s reaction to the news of the pick.

They weren’t the only league executives stunned by the Patriots’ first-round pick. In a poll of more than a dozen league executives conducted by Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, New England’s decision to pick Strange was chosen as the most surprising thing to happen on day one.

An AFC scout told Kyed they ‘couldn’t believe’ the pick while an NFC scout told him ‘I was shocked to see [Strange] go so early. An NFC scout texted Kyed “Bahahaha”.

Another AFC official said The Boston Globes Ben Volin that they were also surprised by the choice but didn’t think he was as big as Kiper.

“Most teams had it anywhere from rounds 2 through 4 on their boards,” the executive told Volin. “Most in the bottom 2/top 3 as far as I know. I think the 3rd round was too low. I was surprised he went in the 1st, but I thought he was likely to go somewhere in round 2.”

Amid the shock, some executives complimented the Patriots’ decision to take Strange.

“He’s a good player, he’ll be a starter,” an AFC executive told Kyed. “Just picking good players is key if you like them.”

An AFC East coach told NFL Network’s Mike Giardi that Strange was “a good fit for his style of play/athletic profile and he eats, drinks and sleeps football.”

“Any worries? “May struggle with passing, even against a lower level of competition.” But added, ‘He showed growth at [the Senior] Bowl, ‘” Giardi wrote in a tweet sharing what the anonymous coach told him.

Jim Nagy, who is the executive director of the Senior Bowl, also cautioned those who criticized the Patriots’ selection of Strange.

“Two things, Pats fans: 1) the majority of the teams we spoke with had second-round ratings on Cole Strange; 2) the guy can play. Immediate starter from day 1 at OG and possible high-end replacement for [David] Andrew at [center]Nagy wrote in a tweet. “Don’t make the same mistake you made bashing Kyle Dugger’s pick.”

The Patriots are expected to make three more picks on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, but those picks are highly unlikely to bring the shockwave that their Day 1 pick did.


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