The Patriots drafted guard Cole Strange with the 29th pick in the first round. Most had a late second, early third round grade on Strange. Not the Patriots apparently. He was the top player on their board at that spot.
So what are the Patriots getting in Strange? Here’s out scouting report.
Cole Strange, 6-4 307, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Initial Quickness: Gets off the ball and gets inside on defenders. Beats defensive lineman to the point and engages..
Run Blocker: Athletic run blocker who plays with good leverage and balance. Bends naturally and gets inside hand position on a consistent basis. Plays with a good pad level and moves well laterally. Controls defenders on single blocks and has the athleticism to come off double teams and get to the second level on linebackers. Moves naturally laterally. Played in a heavy outside zone run scheme and put on a clinic on when reach blocking and cutting defenders off on backside blocks.
Pass Block: Moves well laterally and does a good job of setting up quick. Patient. Punches, recoils and sinks. Can anchor versus bull rushers once engaged but needs to drop his pads a little. Ends getting bent back. Adjusts well in space. Has the footwork to play tackle. Can cut the edge off on speed guys.
Pull & Trap: Moves well laterally on bucket step blocks or when pulling and trapping. Has the upper body strength to root out anchored ends and can hit a moving target consistently.
Use of Hands: Strange has quick hands. Once he engages, he wins. Gets separation and keeps defensive lineman off leverage. Does a good job of sustaining hand placement.
Strength: Strange is functionally strong. He’s by no means a mauler but he has good upper body strength. He’s lean. At times however you see that he struggles to control defenders on single blocks. Needs to capitalize on his lower half more as a blocker. Tends to come off high on some of his blocks and can’t recover and anchor down when he needs to.
Explosion: Strange has good get off. Can engage at the line of scrimmage and get movement. His lateral quickness enables him to get on guys fast and he sustains body position. Second level quickness is evident on scoop and seal blocks.
Final Thoughts: Strange came to Chattanooga as a defensive end and left as a first round guard. A five year starter, he has plenty of experience and snaps under his belt. Strange is fundamentally sound. He plays with good leverage, balance and is athletic for his size.
Strange started 44 of 49 games. He began his career at the Air Force Academy so you know that he is disciplined and smart. Two traits Bill Belichick values in all his players.
Strange was a reach in the first round to many but when you watch the film, the fundamentals , technique and athleticism jumps out at you.
He will be a terrific fit in the Patriots offense. Especially if they opt to be more of a spread, 11 and 12 personnel offense this season. If they do, they will run more outside zone and that type of running game fits Strange well.