Sure, Bill Belichick went off the board to nab Strange at the end of the first round. But one NFL talent evaluator believes New England just bolstered its offensive line in a big way, even pointing to a former Patriots standout in assessing Strange’s potential.
“He has unbelievable feet, his angles and technique are flawless, and I think he would have a high second-round grade,” the evaluator told The Athletic. “He can get a little stronger. The rest, he has already got. Just an excellent lineman in space. He is Joe Thuney-like and can become a great left guard with the feet to play center. New England now has power on the right side of its line and good feet on the left.”
It would be a boon for the Patriots if Strange develops into the type of player Thuney was during his five seasons in New England. Thuney, a third-round pick in 2016, was a stalwart along New England’s O-line, starting every game of his Patriots tenure and earning Second-Team All-Pro honors for the 2019 season.
The Patriots placed the franchise tag on Thuney for the 2020 campaign, which marked his final season in Foxboro before signing a five-year, $80 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. The North Carolina State product won two Super Bowl titles with the Pats. Not a bad return on the draft capital used.
Of course, it’s fair to question whether the Patriots should’ve used their first-round pick this year on a more glaring need. New England, after all, has several holes on its roster, with speed potentially being an issue on both sides of the ball.
But perhaps everyone — including Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead — was too quick to laugh off the Strange pick. The Patriots have had success drafting offensive linemen, including Thuney, and Strange clearly has the makeup to be a solid contributor.