Patriots select OG Cole Strange

brendan f

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There were two major things going against Strange at once:
One is the camp that says it's never okay to draft a guard in the first round (e.g. Lazar).
The other is the camp that says the actual player was an overdraft, position notwithstanding.
The confluence of these forces created a seismic media backlash. If, for example, Zion Johnson had fallen to us, there would have been basically zero pushback (did anyone criticize the Chargers for this pick?), though perhaps some small groans. (Interesting sidenote is the number of pundits convinced he's the guy we wanted, and settled for Strange which is almost certainly not the case).

I don't think the Pats had intel on a particular team that would have drafted Strange. I think they just thought he was really good, really stood out in the Senior Bowl and it was likely someone would snatch him up soon. Just my guess.

Overlooked in all of this is the trade they made with KC, in which they got good value and were able to acquire more picks. We'll see how it all works out.
 

Eddie Jurak

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The stupidest criticsm of the Strange pick I have seen going around is this: the Pats never won a SB with Mankins or Hannah (the greatest guard ever) so taking a guard in the first round is by definition a mistake.

Bedard (whom I usually like) and a couple of others have made this point. It's the sort of argument I would normally expect from a small burrowing vegetarian rodent-like mammal.

Wes Welker could not hold on to a tough (but more than catchable) ball, while David Tyree made an impossible catch, so a guard should never be drafted in round 1. That certainly makes a shit ton of sense./s
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Too many people forget that the goal of the draft is to get good players. It’s not to her high marks on pundits’ report cards, or to get “value,” or to conform to someone’s ideal draft strategy.
 

DJnVa

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Cole Strange had hilarious draft night phone call with Bill Belichick after Patriots picked him: ‘Is this a prank?’

“(Cole) said, ‘Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but I’ve gotta know because I’ve got some crazy friends. Is this a prank?’ The guy said, ‘Hold on just a second.’ And then Bill Belichick got on the phone and of course, unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years, you know Bill Belichick’s voice.

“As soon as I heard Bill Belichick’s voice, Cole and I both started screaming and hugging and acting crazy. Probably saying a bunch of inappropriate stuff. We were so excited. To his credit, you’ve gotta love the guy, Belichick is sitting there and when we got through, the first break he had, he said, ‘Hey Cole, you’ve gotta act like you’ve been there, man.’ It was classic to us. We absolutely loved it.”
 

Dduncan6er

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How has Strange been looking so far? The OL has probably been fine thus far but I have no idea how to evaluate interior OL play. Haven’t heard much discussion on him which I’m assuming is a good sign.
 

DourDoerr

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There's an article up on The Athletic today about Strange and his throwback facemask with the vertical bar (like John Hannah's). https://theathletic.com/3659885/2022/10/05/cole-strange-patriots-facemask/?source=dailyemail&campaign=601983

A former teammate at Chattanooga, McClendan Curtis comments on Strange: “I feel like that’s just Cole’s thing,” Curtis said. “I’ll give that to him. He has all the marketing ability with that stuff — the facemask, the No. 69, ‘Strange’ on the back, no gloves — all of that just fits his vibe.”

Strange 69 - got to admit that's pretty good. Speaks well of his savvy. And the bar is genius. Gets the nostalgia junkies up and creates an easy story out of nothing for tv announcers and writers. Most importantly, he seems to have backed it up with solid play so far.
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Apr 24, 2019
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If he really wanted to make a mark, Strange could come up with a time machine, in which the Pats FO could travel back to select the dynamic, playmaking front 7 guy Devin Lloyd like so many people suggested. Oh well. Glad Strange is doing okay.
 

Zedia

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If he really wanted to make a mark, Strange could come up with a time machine, in which the Pats FO could travel back to select the dynamic, playmaking front 7 guy Devin Lloyd like so many people suggested. Oh well. Glad Strange is doing okay.
It's hard to rate this stuff with all the draft deals, but I think they basically got Strange, Jack Jones, Zappe and 2023 3rd rounder for that 21st pick. Maybe they would have gotten Lloyd instead of Strange if he slipped a couple more spots.
 

DJnVa

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I think we're underselling him if we say he's doing "okay". And if the deal in the previous post is correct (Strange, Jones, Zappe, and '23 3rd) then we did way more than "okay" here.
 
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SMU_Sox

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If he really wanted to make a mark, Strange could come up with a time machine, in which the Pats FO could travel back to select the dynamic, playmaking front 7 guy Devin Lloyd like so many people suggested. Oh well. Glad Strange is doing okay.
Strange is already playing at an average starting guard level while flashing special traits. He was taking it to freaky Kenny Clarke without help last week. Super harsh criticism.

Plus... I am not sure Lloyd would be shining as much here given how bad the DT play is. Right now his scheme is allowing him to avoid taking on OL in run fits, right? Part of that is his defensive line is consistently winning, but part of that is how the defensive front plays there vs here. Yes, NE has used heavier and tighter fronts and relied less on ILBs taking on OL vs last year but they still do it more than the average team. That's why, imo, Mack Wilson is getting hardly any snaps especially recently. You might argue that at least Lloyd would be better at avoiding being washed out and I think there is something to that.
 

SMU_Sox

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Honestly getting Jack Jones alone makes the trade worth it. Also ILB is not a valuable position (IKIK IOL isn't either). I'd argue interior OL and any OL position is more valuable than ILB which is I think the least valuable defensive position.

Jack Jones might have tackling and run support issues but his coverage skills are already either starter caliber or damn close. That's a huge win.
 
Apr 24, 2019
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Thanks for the insight, good to consider. Given their apparent interest in Jack Jones, is there a world in which it’s plausible the Patriots could’ve gotten Lloyd, Strange, Thornton AND Jack Jones? It doesn’t seem crazy to me. Strange Thornton and Jack Jones were not generally considered steaks where they were selected.

edit typos
 

SMU_Sox

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Thanks for the insight, good to consider. Given their apparent interest in Jack Jones, is there a world in which it’s plausible the Patriots could’ve gotten Lloyd, Strange, Thornton AND Jack Jones? It doesn’t seem crazy to me. Strange Thornton and Jack Jones were not generally considered steaks where they were selected.

edit typos
This was a year where there was not a consensus on draft prospects from the top to the bottom of the board. I think it was the year with the most chaos vs the Consensus Big Board. Multiple high ranking front office people spoke out about Cole Strange including the 49ers who saw him as a back of the first round talent. It is unlikely they could get have gotten both Strange and Lloyd as both of those guys were going top 50-60. They traded ahead of the Steelers to get Thornton. The rumor was the Steelers wanted him and they had someone on their staff connected to him but I forgot who. It’s impossible to know if they could have gotten Jack Jones later. The consensus board was so out of whack this year that it’s impossible to say with anything close to certainty who else would have been interested in him. So the answer to your question is that it is highly unlikely if not impossible for them to have gotten Lloyd with Strange, Thornton, and Jack Jones.
Thornton also destroyed the combine and we see speedy guys like him going higher than expected like Mecole Hardman (I think Hardman was taken ahead of where he was on the consensus board but that link is not working for me so I do not know 100% for sure - I didn’t think he was a top 100 kind of player).
 

Saints Rest

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Thanks for the insight, good to consider. Given their apparent interest in Jack Jones, is there a world in which it’s plausible the Patriots could’ve gotten Lloyd, Strange, Thornton AND Jack Jones? It doesn’t seem crazy to me. Strange Thornton and Jack Jones were not generally considered steaks where they were selected.

edit typos
Yet you missed a really good one!
 

Saints Rest

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This was a year where there was not a consensus on draft prospects from the top to the bottom of the board. I think it was the year with the most chaos vs the Consensus Big Board. Multiple high ranking front office people spoke out about Cole Strange including the 49ers who saw him as a back of the first round talent. It is unlikely they could get have gotten both Strange and Lloyd as both of those guys were going top 50-60. They traded ahead of the Steelers to get Thornton. The rumor was the Steelers wanted him and they had someone on their staff connected to him but I forgot who. It’s impossible to know if they could have gotten Jack Jones later. The consensus board was so out of whack this year that it’s impossible to say with anything close to certainty who else would have been interested in him. So the answer to your question is that it is highly unlikely if not impossible for them to have gotten Lloyd with Strange, Thornton, and Jack Jones.
Thornton also destroyed the combine and we see speedy guys like him going higher than expected like Mecole Hardman (I think Hardman was taken ahead of where he was on the consensus board but that link is not working for me so I do not know 100% for sure - I didn’t think he was a top 100 kind of player).
Very well said (of course, as you know more about football than I ever will), but I would just like to add/amplify the point, implicit in your overall post, that "consensus" does not equal "unanimity." If 25 teams think Strange is a 50-60 level prospect, that leaves 7 who might think that he is outside that range. If even half of those other 6 (counting the Pats as one) think he might be 25-30 level and even one of those is above you, then you have to move to get him. Same deal, apparently, with Thornton and the Steelers.

We all get overwhelmed by verbiage from the draft pundits about their own draft boards and "what they are hearing across the league," but the real trick in managing your won draft is knowing the outlier views, not the consensus.
 

SMU_Sox

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To add to that @Saints Rest (well said to you too!) there was an article about do draft reaches and steals really exist. Good study and if I can find the link when I get home from running errands I will post it. The short answer 1) is the guys we think are reaches are either not reaches OR they are a lot less likely to be reaches vs the consensus draft boards and 2) draft steals don’t exist. The guys we think are steals in large part do not overperform their draft slot.
 

j44thor

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To add to that @Saints Rest (well said to you too!) there was an article about do draft reaches and steals really exist. Good study and if I can find the link when I get home from running errands I will post it. The short answer 1) is the guys we think are reaches are either not reaches OR they are a lot less likely to be reaches vs the consensus draft boards and 2) draft steals don’t exist. The guys we think are steals in large part do not overperform their draft slot.
Are you saying that when draft analysts consider someone a steal during the draft they often don't overperform their draft slot? Obviously year in and year out plenty of players will overperform and many more underperform their draft slot. I'd love to see a report that does highlight perceived "steals" by some of the draftniks and see who actually does pan out. I'm also curious how reaches are confirmed not to be reaches, are teams really willingly sharing their draft boards even after the draft? Seems like too much competitive info to leak to the public.
It would also be interesting to see how many "reaches" actually end up performing up to their draft slot, that could be called the Borges report.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Very well said (of course, as you know more about football than I ever will), but I would just like to add/amplify the point, implicit in your overall post, that "consensus" does not equal "unanimity." If 25 teams think Strange is a 50-60 level prospect, that leaves 7 who might think that he is outside that range. If even half of those other 6 (counting the Pats as one) think he might be 25-30 level and even one of those is above you, then you have to move to get him. Same deal, apparently, with Thornton and the Steelers.

We all get overwhelmed by verbiage from the draft pundits about their own draft boards and "what they are hearing across the league," but the real trick in managing your won draft is knowing the outlier views, not the consensus.
This is the crux of the Sports Radio / Felger and Mazz shit stirring as well. Even if Strange is great, they can go back and say "well they could have got him in the 2nd or 3rd or even 4th!!!" That way they're never wrong.
 

SMU_Sox

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Are you saying that when draft analysts consider someone a steal during the draft they often don't overperform their draft slot? Obviously year in and year out plenty of players will overperform and many more underperform their draft slot. I'd love to see a report that does highlight perceived "steals" by some of the draftniks and see who actually does pan out. I'm also curious how reaches are confirmed not to be reaches, are teams really willingly sharing their draft boards even after the draft? Seems like too much competitive info to leak to the public.
It would also be interesting to see how many "reaches" actually end up performing up to their draft slot, that could be called the Borges report.
I actually got the conclusion wrong, slightly:

Here is the link.


When looking back at the draft, it’s almost important to have some humility when it comes to your own player evaluation compared to what the NFL teams did. Reaches are probably not as catastrophic as they look, even though the public is often correct on these. This doesn’t mean that Alex Leatherwoods will be a bust, but it means that we are mostly right to question the Las Vegas Raiders’ process.

Conversely, we probably have to be much more cautious when talking about steals, as the NFL draft has often been proven correct by passing on these players.
 

NortheasternPJ

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Seems like Strange can play. I’m not examining the All-22 but Strange isn’t ever mentioned unless it’s positive. 1-2 penalties this year at most?