Not even two months removed from the NFL Draft, the New England Patriots have signed all 10 of their selections. The team announced on Thursday that the final three players still unaccounted for have signed their rookie deals.
First-round guard Cole Strange, second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, and fourth-round quarterback Bailey Zappe are therefore now all officially under contract with the Patriots. They and their fellow draft selections are now set for training camp.
Strange, 23, was drafted by the Patriots with the 29th overall selection earlier this offseason. A five-year starter at Chattanooga, he has experience at guard and tackle but projects to stay on the interior at the next level: Strange filled the vacant left guard spot during organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, looking like a plug-and-play starter. Him signing his rookie deal was already reported on Wednesday.
Thornton, 21, was picked 50th overall out of Baylor. A speedster who ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all wide receivers at the Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-2, 182-pounder entered the draft off the most productive season of his career: Thornton led the Bears with 62 catches for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021. He posted a photo of him signing his contract to social media earlier on Thursday.
Zappe, 23, came off the board as the 137th selection in the draft. Starting his college career at Houston Baptist before transferring to Western Kentucky, he re-wrote the NCAA record books in 2021: his first year as a Hilltopper saw him throw for an all-time best 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns. Zappe furthermore also completed 69.2 percent of his passes and had 11 interceptions.
With their final three draft picks signed, the Patriots will have to make at least one follow-up move. After all, they entered the day with only $142,280 in salary cap space (per Miguel Benzan). Signing Strange, Thornton and Zappe, however, requires $1.88 million.