Cole Strange NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for New England Patriots' IOLApril 29, 2022
HEIGHT: 6'4 7/8"
HAND: 10 1/8"
WINGSPAN: 6'7 3/4"
40-YARD DASH: 5.03
— Has a firm, stiff outside strike in pass protection to stun and widen rushers around the hoop.
— Looks for work when uncovered, with the physicality and power to deliver knockout blows to engaged rushers to his right and left.
— Flashed the alertness and recognition to read and pick up late-developing blitzes.
— Good play speed with the lateral quickness and movement skills to cut off the back-side shade on zone runs, intersect second-level targets off of combo blocks and line up targets as a puller.
— Does an outstanding job of running his feet to stay attached to blocks, steer and finish through the echo of the whistle.
— Creates very good lift at the point of attack on double-teams with a same-foot, same-shoulder technique and has strong hands to press defenders off his frame.
— Has an upright playing style that causes him to lean and overextend against slippery defenders.
— Doesn't reset or refit his hands inside quickly enough, allowing defenders to slip out of his grasp and get to his edges to plug rushing lanes.
— Unrefined footwork and set points in pass protection, with a habit of biting on stutters and hesitations that cause him to turn, over-set and create a soft edge for rushers to work through.
- 11 starts (9 at LG, two at LT).
- First-team All-Southern Conference selection.
— 44 career starts with 41 at LG, two at LT and one at center.
— Won the Jacobs Blocking Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the Southern Conference, in both the 2021 and 2020 seasons.
— Played for six offensive line coaches during his time at Chattanooga.
— Accepted an invite to the 2022 Senior Bowl, becoming the eighth player in school history to do so.
Strange is a sixth-year player and five-year starter with 44 career starts primarily at left guard inside UT Chattanooga's run-heavy scheme (just under 65 percent runs in 2021).
Strange has a lean, angular build with solid arm length for the interior. He excels both as a zone and gap run-blocker with high-end athletic ability and good play strength to cut off the back-side shade, line up targets as a puller and come to balance in space to intersect targets at the second level off of combo blocks. He can also execute the same-foot, same-shoulder technique on vertical double-teams to create lift and movement off the ball.
Strange has a stiff, firm strike on contact and a relentless leg drive to steer and finish defenders on their back and over piles once latched. Despite a small sample size as a pass protector, he has impressive flashes of being able to strike and widen rushers off his frame and at his fingertips with enough foot quickness to mirror them around the corner while being active and alert when uncovered.
Strange will need to refine his footwork and discipline against shifty rushers who can set up their moves with stutters and hesitations to not open up his shoulders prematurely and create a soft inside edge that leaves him susceptible to getting beat across his face. He also tends to get high on angle-drive blocks as a run-blocker, causing him to overextend against slippery defenders who work to his edge. He's often late to reposition his hands and feet to stay centered on blocks, which results in him getting grabby to stay attached.
Overall, Strange has the frame, athletic ability, play strength and competitive toughness to be considered a high-level backup at multiple positions across the line, with starter potential over his first few seasons at guard. He will need refinement to handle himself in isolated situations as a pass protector in the NFL and to learn how to more efficiently win back leverage as a run-blocker, but he has shown that he can dominate FCS competition, and his power and tenacity translated against a major bump up in competition against Kentucky as well as at the Senior Bowl.
GRADE: 7.1 (High-Level Backup/Potential Starter - 3rd Round)
OVERALL RANK: 98
POSITION RANK: IOL12
PRO COMPARISON: Jake Grove