2022 NFL Draft: Grades for Cole Strange and Every Other New England Patriots Pick

Ahead of last year’s NFL Draft, it was pretty evident that Bill Belichick wanted to bring Mac Jones in to be the quarterback of the future for the New England Patriots. And he brilliantly succeeded in doing so, essentially stealing the Alabama QB at No. 15 overall. The Pats then used their next two picks on the defensive front seven, where they certainly needed help following a poor defensive year in 2020.

There weren’t as many obvious needs for England in this 2022 NFL Draft as there were a year ago, but there were undoubtedly needs.

While maybe not an immediate need, the Patriots typically like to stay ahead of the game regarding left tackle. And with Isaiah Wynn in the final year of his rookie deal, it was assumed Belichick could go looking for his replacement. Both starting guards from a season ago are also no longer on the roster, so the offensive line unit as a whole could look different once this draft is over.

But did Belichick really need to go and do that at No. 29? Cole Strange was simply the first of many questionable picks from the Pats over three days.

2022 NFL Draft picks by New England Patriots

  • No. 29 Overall: Cole Strange, G, Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • No. 50 Overall: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor
  • No. 85 Overall: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston
  • No. 121 Overall: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
  • No. 127 Overall: Pierre Strong, RB, South Dakota State
  • No. 137 Overall: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
  • No. 183 Overall: Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina
  • No. 200 Overall: Sam Roberts, DL, Northwest Missouri State
  • No. 210 Overall: Chasen Hines, G, LSU
  • No. 245 Overall: Andrew Steuber, OT/G, Michigan

No. 29 Overall: Cole Strange, G, Tennessee-Chattanooga

New England Patriots 2022 NFL Draft pick Cole Strange
New England Patriots 2022 NFL Draft pick Cole Strange | Mike Calendrillo/Sportscasting

I really don’t want to make this joke, but Belichick left me no choice. What a strange pick at No. 29 in Cole Strange. Okay, so the Tennessee-Chattanooga product is a solid prospect and could come in right away and see significant playing time. But there’s a strong chance he would’ve still been sitting there when the Patriots make their next pick.

Yeah, that’s right. I’ll question the guy with six Super Bowl rings.

Grade: C+

No. 50 Overall: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor

So Belichick trades up again to take a receiver who the vast majority of people should have gone in the fourth round at the earliest? He could have traded down and gotten Thornton. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is fast. But the middle of the second round? Don’t think so. Here, pretend the “F” is for fast.

Grade: F

No. 85 Overall: Marcus Jones, CB, Houston

Hey, there we go. Belichick finally didn’t go reaching in this draft. This is right around where Jones should have gone, and he’ll be a solid addition for the Patriots, both in the defensive backfield and on special teams.

Grade: B

Day 3 Picks

No. 121 Overall: Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State

Jack Jones might have the same initials J.C. Jackson, but he’ll never fully replace him in New England. Another reach for Belichick here.

Grade: C+

No. 127 Overall: Pierre Strong, RB, South Dakota State

The Patriots don’t really need a running back and while Pierre Strong is solid enough, there were better ones out there if that’s the way they wanted to go.

Grade: C

No. 137 Overall: Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky

ls there some sort of WWE-style heel turn coming from Belichick where he takes off his hoodie like Antonio Brown and throws it at Robert Kraft? I mean, this is ridiculous, right? And that’s with all due respect to Bailey Zappe, who’s talented enough but will never be more than a backup in the NFL. And Belichick could have found one of those later, either in this draft or in free agency.

Grade: D-

No. 183 Overall: Kevin Harris, RB, South Carolina

Think we already covered the running back issue with Pierre Strong. The only reason this isn’t a failing grade is that this is the sixth round, where an unnecessary pick makes at least a little more sense.

Grade: D

No. 200 Overall: Sam Roberts, DL, Northwest Missouri State

So for Beliehick’s next trick, we’ve got a virtual unknown who has battled injuries throughout his career. Roberts’ Cliff Harris Award, given to the best small-college defensive player, keeps this from being a failing grade.

Grade: D

No. 210 Overall: Chasen Hines, G, LSU

Chasen Hines is easily the Patriots’ best pick yet, at least in terms of value. Or maybe overall. The LSU product probably could have gone a couple of rounds earlier, so New England is lucky to get him here.

Grade: A-

No. 245 Overall: Andrew Steuber, OT/G, Michigan

Another good one for the Pats. The leader of the best offensive line in college football in 2021, Steuber can play both tackle and guard.

Grade: B

Stats courtesy of Sports Reference

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