Cole Strange may have been a polarizing selection by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but a few basic facts cannot be denied. He is a very good prospect despite his small-school background, fills a definitive need along the team’s interior offensive line, and has proven himself a very durable player.
In fact, as a look at his injury history shows Strange has not missed a game in his last five seasons at Chattanooga.
2016 (Chattanooga): Strange, who transitioned from the defensive line to the offensive side of the ball upon his arrival at Chattanooga, was redshirted as a true freshman. His position change might have something to do with the decision to hold him out, but he also missed practices due to a broken wrist.
What it means for the Patriots
After sitting out his freshman campaign, Strange went on to appear in 49 games for the Mocs — 44 of them as a starter. Along the way, he moved between the left guard spot, left tackle and center. He projects at the former position at the next level, and the durability he showcased in college is a good foundation for that.
As opposed to other players who were drafted in the first round or seen as potential targets for New England, Strange is very clean from that perspective. While the broken wrist he suffered in 2016 forced him to miss some time, Strange has shown that he can withstand the strains of a heavy workload and the physicality of going up against defensive linemen regardless of competition.
Sure, FBS football is not the same as the NFL, or even the top conferences in college football, but New England will likely not worry about his medical history and outlook at all.
How would you grade the Patriots’ selection of OL Cole Strange at No. 29?
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