The New England Patriots You definitely know how to surprise people on draft day. Although last year’s college player selection meeting was quite unusual — quarterback Mac Jones was the favorite to go down with the team midway through the first round — the day’s first selection of the year went off the left field.
Chattanooga’s offensive lineman Cole String joined the Patriots as the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft. Who is it though? And what does he bring to the table? Let’s find out.
Noun: Cool String
the school: Chattanooga
location: Inner offensive line
Opening day age: 24
measuring: 6 feet – 5, 307 pounds, 33 arms, 79 3/4 wingspan, 10 1/8 hands,
Measurements: 5.03 40-yard dash, 28-inch vertical jump, 10’0-inch wide jump, 4.50 short shuttle, 7.44 3-cone press, 31 bench press
Professional life: A two-star linebacker recruited out of high school, Strange originally committed to Chattanooga, then briefly switched to the Air Force, before making a comeback. He was late for his freshman season as a freshman and changed positions starting with six games as a guard during his freshman year in college. Strange went on to serve as a starter for five years with the Mocs, primarily in the left guard but also briefly in the left and center tackle.
All in all, he appeared in 49 games during his college career. He started 44 matches and won several individual awards. In 2021, he was named to the All-American First Team, All-Southern First Team and the Conference’s highest-grossing striker. Team captain, Strange was invited to the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine after his first season.
strength point: Strange is an eccentric, and has in fact scored the seventh highest relative sporting score out of all the goalkeepers’ prospects in the last 35 years. He has impeccable balance and fluidity and has proven himself when asked to act as a bullet and drag blocker.
Weaknesses: While he is an essentially healthy player, Strange needs to get stronger to find success against NFL competition. He’s not the most powerful player on the go either.
What is his expected role in New England? While some teams have viewed him as more of a center than a guard, the expectation is that Strange will line up the guard in New England. As such, it will likely help replace the late Ted Krass; Krass was the left guard for the Patriots in 2021, and Strange, who started 42 games at that spot in college, is likely to take over.
What is its position in the offensive line depth chart? Earlier this season, Patriots manager Matt Groh stated that the team expects the first-round pick to have an immediate impact. Strange is expected to take over the starting job at left guard immediately, and bring some stability to a position he had a lot of before the departure of Joe Thuney’s free agency in March 2021.
Does he have a knack for positioning? Although the majority of his shots at Chattanooga came on left guard, Strange has experience elsewhere as well. He started one game at center in 2019 and one on left tackle in 2021. He also has a few right tackle picks on his resume.
What is the value of his own squad? Just like every attacking lineman, Strange has limited value when it comes to the kicking game. However, the expectation is that he will act as a goalkeeper and kick the extra point immediately.
What does that mean for the New England Outlook Project? Strange’s selection in the first round addressed one of the team’s biggest needs, but that doesn’t mean another offensive lineman is no longer in the cards later. The interference position, after all, remains somewhat of a question mark as Isaiah Wynn enters the final year of his contract and Trent Brown slowly wakes up there in age.
One sentence rule: His first-round pick might be a head-scratcher, but Strange checks a lot of boxes for the Patriots and is one of the mean SOBs up front.
How would you rate the Patriots’ selection of J Cole String to 29th?