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Cole Strange’s work ethic has left a positive impression on the Patriots. Just like his punt-catching skills.

Related: Patriots training camp notebook: Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry have an impressive day

NFL: New England Patriots Training Camp Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest moments of the New England Patriots’ third training camp practice on Friday did not come on offense or defense. It did not really come on special teams either, but rather in a different setting entirely.

At the end of the session, head coach Bill Belichick held a punt-catching competition. First, wide receiver Tre Nixon and cornerback Marcus Jones battled to a tie. Then, it was time for the big boys: guard Cole Strange and outside linebacker DaMarcus Mitchell.

Whereas Mitchell was able to hold onto just one of the two kicks coming his way, Strange reeled in both of them to take the win. It was a light-hearted moment at the end of a productive day, and one that — once again — introduced the Patriots’ first-round draft pick as a player with some impressive athletic skills.

“You see some athleticism, for sure,” Jones said after the session. “That was one of those situations where you look and you’re like, ‘Oh, I don’t know he had it in him.’ That was good to see.”

Strange leaving a positive impression on his teammates is nothing new at this point. The 29th selection in this year’s draft — and a surprising one in the eyes of a lot of people — the Chattanooga product has quickly adapted to life in the NFL.

As a result, he now appears to be locked into the starting left guard role previously occupied by free agency departee Ted Karras. While early training camp is a comparatively quiet period for offensive linemen due to a lack of full pads and contact, Strange and the Patriots can feel good about where he currently is at.

Belichick himself said as much earlier this week.

“Cole’s worked really hard, he’s one of the first guys in the building every day and last to leave. He’s done a good job on his assignments, shown a lot of maturity in different situations that we’ve put him in,” he said.

“But, it’s a long way to go, and obviously he has talent, but it comes down to production and consistency, and we’ll find out over a period of time how that is. Love working with him, though. He’s a good worker.”

Trent Brown, who spent the majority of camp at the left tackle position next to Strange echoed those remarks.

“He’s a good young fella,” the veteran lineman said. “Very athletic. Willing to learn, willing to put the work in. It’s going to be fun working with him.”

As for Strange himself, he is just trying to keep up with the grind three days into his first ever training camp. The 23-year-old is feeling comfortable in his position, though, in part due to the support system around him.

Strange, after all, entered an experienced offensive line room. While the group lost the aforementioned Ted Karras as well as starting right guard Shaq Mason during the offseason, the returning starters are all quite experienced: Trent Brown and center David Andrews are in their eighth year in the league, while right tackle Isaiah Wynn is in his fifth; even right guard Michael Onwenu is already in Year 3.

“We have a good room,” Strange said. “Guys are helping each other out, guys are helping the rookies if we have questions.”

The support within the O-line room is one of the reasons why the rookie has been able to establish himself as a plug-and-play option at left guard. It also helped him build a level of comfort.

“I feel pretty good, honestly,” he pointed out this week. “I think it’s just a matter of — and I’d say it’s probably the same for anybody else coming in — just making sure you’re familiar with your assignments and not being paralysis by analysis, that kind of thing. Whenever you know your play and don’t think about it you just go. I’m just trying to get to that point.”