Everyone was surprised when the Patriots drafted Chattanooga guard Cole Strange in the first round. Including Strange himself.
In fact, Strange wondered if he was being pranked when he got a call from an unknown number and the voice on the other line said he was from the Patriots, letting Strange know he was going to New England with the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Cole’s father Greg Strange told MassLive.com that the call came as a shock.
“[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,” Greg Strange said. “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.”
Strange was not expected to be a first-round pick, and Belichick took some criticism for a pick that many viewed as a reach. Even Strange didn’t see it coming.