The New England Patriots might have reached for Cole Strange with the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. But who cares?
While that’s obviously a reckless approach at its core, the overarching point is that drafting players you like ultimately is the name of the game. And the Patriots clearly like Strange, a little-known 23-year-old guard out of Chattanooga.
“Cole Strange is really symbolic of the way people viewed this draft,” an NFL executive told The Athletic’s Mike Sando. “It really was such an eye-of-the-beholder draft. ‘We are taking guys we like, we don’t care where people have them mocked, we don’t care if people think it’s a reach.’ In the past, I feel like teams were more like, ‘We like him, but we can get him later.’ “
The Patriots traded back from No. 21 to No. 29, and even then, they probably could have waited to select Strange. Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead certainly thought so, judging by their real-time reaction to New England’s Round 1 pick.
But Bill Belichick (again) zigged when everyone else zagged, and time will tell whether the reach was worth with outside criticism. It’s hard to imagine anyone in Foxboro complaining if Strange pans out, whereas other teams actually might regret paying too much attention to mock drafts and the sort.