The New England Patriots were not expected to use all seven of their Day 3 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they ended up doing just that. The final of those picks, coming at No. 245 in the seventh round, was invested in yet another offensive lineman.
After already drafting Cole Strange and Chasen Hines in the first and sixth rounds, respectively, the Patriots brought Andrew Stueber aboard. The Michigan man is obviously in a different position than roster lock Strange in particular, but he will be given a chance to prove himself upon his arrival in New England.
Why, exactly, did the team give him this opportunity, though? Let’s find out.
Stueber fits New England’s size requirements
While he was among the last few picks in the draft, Stueber very much looks the part of an NFL-level offensive lineman. Standing at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds he has a massive frame and plenty of length to go along with it — something New England very much values, as long-time offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia recently pointed out.
“I believe in length. I think that length is important,” Scarnecchia said. “Look, Matt Light played on our team for 11 years, all right, and his arms were 33 inches long at left tackle. Now, do you want them much shorter than that? I’d say no. Do you want them longer than that? Yeah, it doesn’t hurt, it’s certainly good.”
He added that length alone is not a disqualifier for a good player, but it is a plus. Stueber checks the boxes: he has 34 1/8-inch arms and a 79 7/8-inch wingspan to go along with 10-inch hands. He is pretty big, regardless of where he lines up.
Speaking of which...
He can play every position on the line, at least in theory
While you would ideally not need him to step into a starting role this season, Stueber has the experience of playing multiple spots along the offensive line. During his four non-injury seasons at Michigan, he saw action at both guard and tackle; he also took some reps at the center position during the Senior Bowl.
While his versatility to play all five spots up front is more theoretical than anything at this point in his development, he brings a foundation the Patriots can work with. That alone is worth a seventh-round pick.
They had Stueber rated as a priority free agent
Whereas players picked in the first four rounds of the draft are usually locks to make the roster, especially in New England, those selected in the final three rounds are not. The Patriots therefore use those picks not necessarily as a vital part of their draft strategy, but more as opportunities to secure some priority free agents.
His own draft status suggests that Stueber was ranked as such as well on the Patriots’ board. For one reason or another, the team felt more comfortable drafting him late than letting him enter the open market and a potential competition for his services.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of Andrew Stueber at No. 245?
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