There weren’t a lot of mock drafts projecting guard Cole Strange as a first-round pick, but he only needed one team to feel otherwise to hear his name called on Thursday night and the Patriots turned out to be that team.
New England picked Strange at No. 29 after a trade down with the Chiefs and the move elicited surprised reactions from Rams head coach Sean McVay and many others who thought Strange would be around on Day 2. Strange was asked on a conference call about the perception that the Patriots reached to make him a first-round choice and whether that would be a source of motivation.
“To tell you the truth, I’ve kind of held this stance and this thought process from the very beginning,” Strange said. “No matter where I got drafted or where I got picked, I was going to push the exact same way with the same chip on my shoulder that I’ve always had. I know that this is just the beginning and whenever I get there, I’m going to have to put in a lot of work. And that’s just how I’ve always felt, really. No matter where I went.”
With Shaq Mason traded to Tampa and Ted Karras gone as a free agent, had a need on the interior of the line and addressed it by taking Strange. If he winds up being what they need up front, the debate about where he was drafted should be a short-lived one.