The 2022 Patriots class hasn’t been knocked out, but it’s on the ropes.

After last season, there were reasons to feel good about New England’s rookie class.

Cole Strange might not have played like a first-round pick, but he showed franchise guard potential. Tyquan Thornton at least contributed as a rookie receiver, which is an accomplishment with the Patriots. Jack and Marcus Jones both played well as freshman cornerbacks, even though the former ended the season on the suspension list. The latter looked like an emerging three-phase weapon. Bailey Zappe handled himself admirably after being thrown into a situation he wasn’t ready for. Even the running backs, Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, showed promise at the end of the season.

Oh, how things have changed.

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The Patriots on Sunday traded Strong to the Cleveland Browns for developmental tackle Tyrone Wheatley Jr. It was a surprising move, considering Strong was a fourth-round pick and New England has a long history of developing mid-round running backs into meaningful contributors.

Then Tuesday happened. Ahead of the roster cutdown deadline, the Patriots waived Zappe, Harris, guard Chasen Hines and tackle Andrew Stueber. Some, perhaps all, will land back on New England’s practice squad. But the reality is the Patriots risked losing all four to other teams, which tells you all you need to know. One report indicates they also would’ve waived Strong if they weren’t able to find a trade partner.

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So, let’s recap where things stand for New England’s 2022 draft class.

R1: G Cole Strange — on roster
R2: WR Tyquan Thornton — on roster
R3: CB Marcus Jones — on roster
R4: CB Jack Jones — on roster
R4: RB Pierre Strong — traded
R4: QB Bailey Zappe — cut
R6: RB Kevin Harris — cut
R6: DT Sam Roberts — on roster
R6: G Chasen Hines — cut
R7: OT Andrew Stueber — cut

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Five of the 10 picks remain. And you could argue Roberts’ stock increased the most over the course of the summer, though he’s just a depth defensive lineman.

Strange still has the makings of someone who will play in the NFL for a long time. But he suffered a left leg injury on July 31 and basically remained sidelined until returning to practice Sunday afternoon. Plus, regardless of how good Strange becomes, you always will be able to argue he shouldn’t have been selected in the first round. We’re talking about the same team that took Joe Thuney in the third round, and just used a fifth-round pick on guard Atonio Mafi, who already might be starting-caliber.

Thornton is trending toward being a bust. He was banged up all summer while seeing a concerning amount of time with the second-team offense. His best play of training camp coincided with a shoulder injury that could force him onto in-season injured reserve for the second consecutive season. Thornton’s speed remains breathtaking, and he shows promise when healthy. But the fact of the matter is he can’t stay on the field and, if we’re being honest, he might’ve been cut on Tuesday if not for his draft status.

As for the Joneses, Marcus turned in a disappointing camp that made him look like little more than a backup corner. Jack was boom-or-bust but mostly played well; however, he made headlines for a late-June gun arrest and stormed out of one practice for still-mysterious reasons. Does his significant playing time in the preseason finale indicate the Patriots believe a suspension is on the way?

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And that’s it for the 2022 class: a guard that still hasn’t proven anything, a depth D-lineman, an injury-prone wideout and two fringy, undersized cornerbacks.

And you can bet Robert Kraft is paying attention. The Patriots owner, who’s said good things about the 2021 class and this year’s crop of rookies, hasn’t shied away from calling out Bill Belichick’s draft failures from the last decade. He surely can’t be happy to look up and see half the 2022 class wiped out after a year and a half.

With all that said, things can change. If Strange, Thornton and just one of the Jones corners reach their potential, the Patriots should be thrilled. And, really, draft classes shouldn’t be judged for at least a few years. Of course, there’s not much judging to be done if there aren’t any players left to assess.

There still is time for the 2022 Patriots draft class’ narrative to improve. But it’s looking worse and worse by the day.

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Featured image via Andrew Nelles/USA TODAY Sports Images