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2022 Patriots Draftee Can Accomplish Starting Aspirations In His First Year!

Table Of Contents

  1. First Draftee Cole Strange Selection Instant Reaction

  2. Athleticism

  3. Lack of Experience vs. Elite Competition

  4. Is the size an Issue?

  5. Can Play Center?

  6. Three Things to Help Him Adjust

  7. Overall Outlook

  8. Link to My Previous Article

  9. Other Patriots Related Articles

  10. Stadium Rant Job Opportunites Link

First Draftee Cole Strange Selection Instant Reaction

As most of you already know, Cole Strange was our First-round draftee at #29 overall this season. This pick was an extremely strange (pun intended) pick that no one saw coming.

Sean McVay, the coach of the LA Rams, even said Strange was on their radar at Pick 104. Strange was even shocked he was picked on Thursday and thought it was a prank call.

I knew nothing about him and had him going 90th overall in my Mock Draft, but as I learned more about him, I realized why we may have picked him even though it is still not popular among Pats fans.

Shaq Mason was traded, and Ted Karras left in free agency. These moves put pressure on New England to draft a guard who could start immediately. Strange is highly experienced, with five years starting at Chattanooga’s offensive line, and has been called an extremely intelligent and hard worker (the perfect Belichick player). These are both solid signs that he will be our day one starter this season.

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His athleticism stood out during and after the draft process. His Relative Athletic Score (RAS) was 9.95, and since 1987 just six guards of the 1298 guards measured graded higher than Strange athletically.

His Bench Press, Broad Jump, 40-yard dash, 20-yard split, 10-yard split, shuttle run, and 3-cone drill were all graded above 9.0, and the last six were all graded above 9.4 by his Broad Jump at 9.98.

His 5.03-second 40-yard dash was almost a quarter-second faster than the average Guard. His Bench Press of 31 was five more than the average Guard. His 3-cone of 7.44 seconds was about a third of a second faster than the average Guard.

His Broad Jump was ten feet which is a lot closer to the average Corner or Receiver than the average Guard or even most Inside Linebackers and shows his elite athleticism.

His athleticism will be an outstanding asset in any zone rushing schemes that we run and can even help him block at the second level if we break a big run. His athleticism can also help him hold off larger defensive linemen in the passing game.

Lack Of Experience Vs. Elite Competition

One concern about Strange is that he played at an FCS school, so he has not been up against the elite competition. The issue came up at the Senior Bowl when he was destroyed multiple times on video by players drafted much later than he was. However, he likely had hundreds of reps that week and the negative videos are much more likely to show up on video for an O-Lineman than positive videos.

One NFC scout said that he did well going up against eventual first-round draft pick Javon Kinlaw in a 2018 game against South Carolina, which bodes well for him adjusting to the NFL, and he now has three more years of experience which will help him even more.

Is Size An Issue?

Scouts have also said he will likely struggle in the power run game as he is “only” 307 pounds (guards average around 320 pounds). However, being undersized might be a minor concern as we often utilize a heavy power-run scheme.

However, his size has not prevented him from being an outstanding pass blocker who allowed just one sack in his last four seasons at Chattanooga. As the passing game becomes more and more dominant in NFL play, his pass blocking skills can be increasingly valued.

Can Play Center?

On a different note could likely play center if we needed him to, as he has snapped in practice and even started a game there at Chattanooga. Playing center shouldn’t be a considerable need most weeks, but any versatility can make a difference in a crucial game with our season on the line.

I would not play him at center in his first season unless it is an emergency. A certain level of chemistry with a QB is needed as a center. Plus, Strange should focus on playing Guard for now. Scouts have said he would be best as a center in a zone-blocking scheme, so this could be something to look out for in the future.

Three Things to Help Him Adjust

A more zone-based run game. This would put Strange in the best position to succeed and help our running backs as Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and Pierre Strong Jr. are on the smaller side (James White is on the larger side but only had ten carries for 38 yards last season).

Play him for most if not all of each preseason game. That decision may be controversial as teams typically have not played their high draft picks for significant portions of the preseason. Still, due to Cole’s lack of top-level experience, I feel he needs to get used to facing NFL caliber (or near-NFL caliber) defensive linemen, so more snaps in the preseason will help.

Have him put on 10-15 pounds before the season starts. Bulking up may spark some outrage considering the way he plays, but this would likely be a positive gain for him and the Patriots. The key is that he can’t lose too much of his outstanding athleticism, making him a better fit for the power run game and helping him pass protection against larger defensive linemen.

Overall Outlook

He will likely struggle at first, as most offensive linemen do early in their rookie seasons. However, due to his athleticism, Football IQ, and five seasons of college football, he should adjust quickly to become a solid member of our offensive line for years to come.

Link to My Previous Article

An Intriguing Path for The Pats To Win The AFC East In 2022?

Links To Other Patriots Articles & Stadium Rants Job Board

Check out our other articles @ The Gillette Gazette

Interested in covering New England with us? Or, if you are a fan of another team, we have plenty of opportunities at Stadium Rant spanning the whole NFL and more!



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