NFL fans and media members alike have grown to expect the unexpected when it comes to the Patriots’ draft decisions.
But even those who have been following New England since the start of the Bill Belichick era probably couldn’t have predicted what the Patriots did this past Thursday night.
Belichick and company made one of the more head-scratching selections of the 2022 draft when it picked Cole Strange at No. 29 overall. The guard/center out of Chattanooga has the makeup to be an NFL starter for some time, but the Patriots might have been reaching by spending a first-round pick on him.
NBC Sports’ Peter King clearly was not a fan of New England’s Round 1 choice.
“Picking Cole Strange, a decent prospect from Tennessee-Chattanooga, 29th overall was a naïve move by Bill Belichick,” King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column. “There was no indication he’d have gotten picked before New England’s next pick at 54; even if he was picked before then, so what?”
To further emphasize his point, King included a video of Strange being manhandled at the Senior Bowl by Travis Jones, a defensive tackle who was selected 76th overall by the Baltimore Ravens.
Could the Patriots have filled a more pressing need with a better player at No. 29? Probably. But if Strange ultimately turns into the next Logan Mankins, everyone likely will stop caring about where the former was drafted.
All told, it’s pretty foolish to make grand proclamations about draft picks before the players even take the field.