Patriots Rookie Shows Off ‘Monster’ Strength in Workout Video

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The New England Patriots threw everyone a curveball on Thursday night.

After trading out of their No. 21 pick in a move with the Kansas City Chiefs, Bill Belichick and Co. selected UT Chattanooga guard Cole Strange with the No. 29 pick.

New England sent the No. 21 pick to the Chiefs, who used the selection to draft Trent McDuffie, a cornerback who had been linked to the Patriots. In return, New England acquired the 29th, 94th and 121st pick from Kansas City.

While unsexy and ignoring what is arguably the team’s biggest need at cornerback, there is some upside to the selection. Strange has received rave reviews from top talent evaluators, though some believe New England could have gotten him later in the draft.

Shane Haff of Chalk Talk listed the pick as one of the “worst-value” selections of the first round.

Still, it appears Strange’s work ethic and strength are among his most celebrated qualities. Both are on display in this workout video he retweeted 10 days before the NFL Draft.

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At 6’5″ 307 pounds, Strange is a lean and massively strong interior lineman who could likely play guard and center at the next level. Strange plugs an immediate need for the Patriots on the offensive line after the team traded away Shaq Mason to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a cost-cutting move this offseason. talent evaluator Lance Zierlein compared Strange to former Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns O-Lineman J.C. Tretter. Like Tretter, Strange’s intelligence and football I.Q. also drew some love in Zierlein’s scouting report on the Knoxville, Tennessee native.

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Zierlein calls Strange “highly intelligent and tough,” which are two important qualities for any football player, but especially an offensive lineman.

“Highly experienced interior lineman who does a nice job of staying on schedule,” Zierlein added. “He shines over the first two phases of the block, which means he gains early positioning and gets into the sustain phase with proper hand usage and footwork.”

Zierlein loves Strange’s intangibles, but he does point out some potential issues with his frame while identifying a possible position change later in his career.

“He will lose a tug-of-war battle as a pure man-to-man blocker but wins with lateral quickness and an understanding of angles as a move blocker,” Zierlein wrote. “A snappier pass punch is needed to prevent sub-package rushers with hand talent from bypassing him too easily. His frame and play strength are a little below average, but he has done some snapping in practice, so he could land as a future starting center for a zone-happy rush offense.”

The Patriots’ 2022 O-Line Has Some Potential

For 2022, the Patriots will be thrilled if Strange can slot in between David Andrews and Trent Brown on the team’s offensive line. If Strange can put together the kind of rookie season the Patriots saw from Mike Onwenu in 2020 when he was the second-highest-rated first-year O-Lineman by Pro Football Focus, New England will have hit the bullseye with this pick.

An O-Line that features Isaiah Wynn, Onwenu, Andrews, Strange, and Brown sounds great on paper, but health and a potentially slow start from Strange could alter this utopian plan. In any case, the first rookie Patriot is in the fold with New England holding a bevy of picks on day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Looking Ahead to Day 2 of the NFL Draft

When you consider how many holes the Patriots have on their roster, stockpiling probably isn’t a bad idea. Heading into Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Patriots have three selections. The first one on Friday, barring another trade, will be the 54th selection. New England then selects 85th followed by the 94th they received from the Chiefs.

With four picks inside the Top 100, New England has a chance to find multiple players capable of contributing as starters or major rotational pieces. Many people will panic after seeing Belichick go for a guard with the No. 29 pick, but like all drafts, we’ll have to wait until it’s over before we can make a strong assessment of what New England was able to add.

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