he selection of Cole Strange by the New England Patriots with the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft stunned fans and the same could be said for NFL scouts.
While fans were stunned, NFL scouts seemed to be as well. Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed spoke to his sources within the league and they mirrored the response of fans.
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“I couldn’t believe it,” one AFC scout told Kyed.
“I was shocked to see him go that early,” an NFC scout also told Kyed.
Kyed also got a one-word response from an NFC executive which indicates how the league thinks of New England’s selection.
“Bahahaha,” they said to Kyed.
NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry also spoke to some scouts and executives to learn more about the Patriots’ selection.
“Was definitely the shocking pick of the night,” an AFC executive told Perry. “Good player. Didn’t think he would go anywhere near that pick.”
While there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding the pick, one AFC Executive had positive comments about the selection. Kyed noted that the executive was not employed by New England.
“He’s a good player, will be a starter,” the executive told Kyed. “Just picking good players is the key if you like them.”
Perry also heard good things about Strange.
He’s tough,” an AFC executive said of Strange. “He plays hard. He’s a good athlete. There’s a lot to like there, a lot to work with … How long would he have lasted into the second? That’s probably up for some debate.”
Laughing Stock of The League
Besides hearing it from fans and scouts, New England’s selection garnered quite a bold reaction from the Los Angeles Rams.
Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead were stunned that Strange was selected in the first round.
“Wow. Cole Strange just went!” McVay said.
“Oh my, UT-Chattanooga to the first round,” Snead replied in amazement.
“How about that?” McVay replied. “And we wasted our time watching him thinking he’d be at 104 (overall), maybe.”
What Kind of Player is Strange?
Strange will turn 24 before the start of his rookie season. The offensive lineman was a five-year starter and appeared in 44 games for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
In 2021, Strange was named a third-team All-American along with a spot on the All-SoCon first team. Strange also performed well at the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine. The Patriots’ first-round selection became the second-ever player from Chattanooga to participate in the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine with the first being Keionta Davis in 2017.
In Indianapolis, Strange finished with the best broad jump (10 feet) and the second-best performance in the bench press (31 reps).
Strange will look to compete for one of the guard positions in New England. With the departure of Ted Karras and Shaq Mason, there is potential for Strange to compete for a starting job in his rookie season.
So while some scouts and executives were surprised, there is some hope that Strange could succeed in the NFL.