While many were upset or confused about the New England Patriots’ 2022 1st-Round pick, Cole Strange, there’s been nothing but positive coming from Strange’s corner. According to Mike D’Abate for Sports Illustrated, during an exclusive interview with Stange’s former HC Rusty Wright spoke very highly of him. In fact, Wright emphasizes, “ ‘Let’s go figure out how to get this done.’ That’s him. That’s him in everything he does.”
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Strange’s introduction to the Patriots supporters and organization took place last Friday during his media day. He seemed emphatic about joining the Patriots and prepared for the future. He described the experience as “a dream come true.”
The Chattanooga product became the 29th overall draft pick after the Patriots traded back from the 21st overall pick with the Kansas City Chiefs. This made him the highest pick out of any small school in history. Again, while many were upset or confused about the decision this was a wise pick to fill the void of recent G Ted Karras’s departure. Strange’s versatility is what possibly may have drawn him towards Patriots HC Bill Belichick. Not only can Strange play guard but he’s also capable of moving over if need be to center or tackle.
In so many words, as his former HC describes he’s willing to do whatever it takes to put the team in the best position to win.
Rusty Wright’s High Regards for Strange
His former HC Rusty Wright at Chattanooga University had nothing but the utmost respect and highest regards for him going to the Pats. Wright believes he’ll be an asset to New England not for god giving ability, but his mindset and work ethic that will set him apart, reported D’Abate.
“Cole is the ultimate team player,” Wright told SI Fan Nations’ Patriots Country in an exclusive interview. “He’s one of those guys that if you tell him to do something, he tries to master it. He’s played three different spots for us. Went over to the Senior Bowl and played an unfamiliar position … but played it at a high level. Going up to [New England] he has the availability to be a good player at 2-3 different spots and that fits perfectly with what New England is all about.”
Wright went to speak about his “perfectionist” attitude that forces him to be great at his craft. He believes he will eventually become a leader throughout the locker room once the organization and team understand how dedicated he truly is. The same impressions he left at Chattanooga, Wright believes he will imitate during his time with the Patriots.
“He would wear himself out trying to get things right,” emphasized Wright. “When some players shy away from [being a leader], thrives on it.”
Cole Strange’s Legacy in Chattanooga
Strange had an exceptional senior year season, according to Pro Football Focus, he ranked with 83.4 pass-blocking grade, 86.9 run-blocking grade, and 86.3 overall grade.
The last guard, the New England Patriots took in the first round became a Future Hall of Famer, Logan Mankins. Not only did his production on the field speak for itself last season, but his former HC Wright believes in him more than life itself. Strange intangibles are legitimate, but it seems his ability to lead will help him be exceptional in the NFL.
“Cole had never snapped the ball in a college football game,” Wright recounted. “Our center gets hurt [in the game], and we call a timeout for him to get a couple of snaps in. And he played center from midway through the third quarter through the fourth quarter. Never once did he say ‘I can’t do this’ He just said ‘Let’s go figure out how to get this done.’ That’s him. That’s him in everything he does.”