The Patriots provided a first-round stunner in the 2022 NFL Draft when they selected Cole Strange, a guard out of Chattanooga.
The perplexing pick was made a little over a month after New England made another surprising move within the interior of its offensive line.
The Patriots at the turn of the new league year traded right guard Shaq Mason, one of the organization’s most consistent players ever since he was drafted by New England in the fourth round in 2014. If you ask ESPN NFL writer Bill Barnwell, shipping Mason off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the one move the Patriots could have done differently this offseason.
“The Pats’ hands were tied by what they did last offseason, but I would have liked to see them find a way to keep Mason,” Barnwell wrote in a column published Thursday. “Even if New England thinks Strange will emerge as a superstar, retaining Mason would have allowed the team to keep Mike Onwenu in a utility role, which is extremely important given how frequently (Trent) Brown and fellow tackle Isaiah Wynn have been injured over the past few seasons.”
Arguably one of the biggest priorities for the Patriots in the 2022 season will be setting up Mac Jones to take a leap in Year 2. If the quarterback is unable to level up largely due to a leaky offensive line, New England might ultimately regret moving Mason.