Patriots Rumors: NE Was 'Concerned' Bucs Would Draft Cole Strange in 2nd Round

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMay 2, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: Tennessee-Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 3, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the New England Patriots reached for offensive lineman Cole Strange in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, they were reportedly worried another team was going to take him in the second.

According to Albert Breer of MMQB, the Patriots were "concerned" the Tampa Bay Buccaneers planned to select him with their next pick.

Tampa Bay had traded back to Round 2, securing the No. 33 overall selection to go with its No. 60 pick. Per Breer, "Strange would’ve been a consideration at 60."

Instead, New England grabbed the UT-Chattanooga product at No. 29.

Strange's pick was surprising for many, as he was considered to be the 12th best interior offensive lineman in the class by Bleacher Report's Scouting Department. He was rated 98th overall entering the draft.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay joked that he thought Strange would still be on the board by their pick at 104 overall:

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Sean McVay's reaction to the Pats pick during the 2022 NFL draft 🤣 <a href="https://t.co/e0LC0dv2n0">pic.twitter.com/e0LC0dv2n0</a>

While the Patriots selection might have been earlier than expected, few have doubted Strange's abilities. 

"Teams seem to really like him across the board," Breer reported.

The 6'5", 307-pound lineman started 44 games across five years in college and could use his experience to make a quick transition to the NFL, even with a large jump in competition. New England also needed help at guard after losing both Shaq Mason and Ted Karras this offseason, potentially putting Strange in position to win a starting job in Week 1.

Though Strange might have still been available for the team's second pick at No. 54, the Patriots acted quickly to make sure they got their guy.