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Strange, 23, was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 29th overall pick out of Chattanooga. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder was a five-year starter on the offensive line. He started all 11 games in 2021 with nine at left guard and two at left tackle and led an offensive line that paved the way for an offense that averaged 205.5 rushing yards per game.
Thornton, 21, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 50th overall pick out of Baylor. The 6-foot-2, 182-pounder started all 14 games that he played in 2021 and led the team with 62 receptions for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished his college career 10th all-time in Baylor history with 2,242 receiving yards.
Zappe, 23, was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 137th overall pick out of Western Kentucky. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder was named the MVP of Conference USA in 2021 after completing 475-of-686 passes for 5,987 yards with 62 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
How Big of an Impact Will These Players Have in 2022?
With Strange being selected in the first round, fans in New England should expect to see plenty of the offensive linemen in 2022. With his flexibility, it wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up starting and playing a significant amount of snaps.
Thornton also looks like he could get a decent amount of snaps. Thornton was working with the starters in minicamp and will likely do the same at training camp.
Being selected in the second round, the Patriots clearly believe in Thornton’s talent. Still, New England has plenty of talented wide receivers such as Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker, and Jakobi Meyers.
But Thornton seems to have a place on the depth chart over a player such as N’Keal Harry who worked with the scout team at minicamp. Harry seems to be reaching the end of his career in New England and Nelson Agholor could be traded before the start of the season.
What Will Zappe’s Role Be in His Rookie Season?
Zappe will have more of a reduced role in 2022. If he gets playing time, it likely means that catastrophe has struck and Mac Jones has managed to get injured.
The rookie quarterback will spend his season learning from Jones and adjusting to the style of play in the NFL. Zappe comes to New England with high praise. Randy Mueller, a 30-year NFL front office veteran and the NFL’s 2000 Executive of the Year, had high praise for Zappe, his second-highest rated QB prospect in the 2022 class, trailing only Pitt’s Kenny Pickett.
“I happen to like Bailey Zappe, the QB from Western Kentucky,” Mueller wrote earlier in April. “I think if he was two inches taller he might be vying for the first QB being considered in this draft. He is accurate, he is comfortable in the pocket, he has plenty of arm strength to go with anticipation and for my money can make all the NFL throws needed to be successful. I see similarities with other 6-foot-tall QBs who have been successful in the last decade in the NFL.”
Now Patriots fans can get excited for training camp as the team has finally signed all their draft picks.