NFL Draft: Patriots select OL Cole Strange with No. 29 overall pick
Some might find this choice a bit strange.
Many fictional drafts had University of Tennessee-Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange in the third or fourth round, but Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the team’s scouting department felt confident enough. to select Strange with the No. 29 overall pick on Thursday in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Strange participated in Reese’s Senior Bowl earlier this year. Patriots scouting consultant Eliot Wolf and director of player personnel Matt Groh were on hand for the game in Mobile, Alabama.
New England selected Strange after trading in the first round, sending the No. 21 overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 29 pick, a third round and a fourth round.
Strange was an excellent defenseman for Farragut High School in Knoxville before signing with UT-Chattanooga. As a redshirt freshman, he started six of 10 games played at left guard. He played 11 games at left guard the following year and was named to the league’s Second All-Star Team. Strange was also named All-League the next two seasons. SoCon coaches also voted him to the all-conference first team for his play in 11 starts at left guard in 2021.
In his player overview and comparison for NFL.com, Lance Zierlein compared Strange to former Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns lineman JC Tretter:
Very experienced inside lineman who does a good job meeting deadlines. He shines in the first two phases of bouldering, which means he gains early positioning and enters the hold phase with proper hand use and footwork. He will lose an uphill battle as a pure man-to-man blocker, but win with lateral quickness and understanding of angles as a movement blocker. A snappier punch is needed to prevent sub-package rushers with manual talent from getting around it too easily. His frame and game strength are a bit below par, but he’s made a few snaps in training, so he could land as a future starting center for a happy point attack in the area.