New England’s first-round NFL draft pick on Thursday caught a lot of folks off guard — Los Angeles Rams brass included.
With the 29th pick acquired via trade, the Patriots called a name that a lot of folks didn’t expect to hear until the third round — Tennessee-Chattanooga guard Cole Strange. A two-star prospect out of high school who developed into a four-year college starter, Strange is a great story and a legitimate NFL prospect. It’s just … most people think he went a little too early. Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm had him graded as the No. 91 prospect in the draft.
The Rams, who had the night off thanks to dealing their first-round pick for Matthew Stafford, watched the draft with the rest of us. General manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay were speaking with reporters when they saw Bill Belichick’s selection. Their reaction was, well … candid.
McVay: “Strange just went.”
Snead: “Oh my, UT Chattanooga to the first round.”
McVay: “How about that? And we wasted our time watching him thinking he’d be at 104, maybe.”
McVay then proceeded to literally laugh out loud.
Did Patriots get this one right?
Belichick’s draft track record speaks for itself, of course. Outside of selecting wide receivers, there’s no arguing with his results. But this one’s a bit of a puzzler. Even if he coveted Strange, there’s a decent chance Strange would have still been on the board with the Patriots’ second-round pick at No. 54.
But that’s the thing. If he covets Strange, he can’t afford the risk of letting him drop to another team. And when Strange develops into a five-time All-Pro, he’ll have his own chance to laugh right back at McVay.
Will Patriots coach Bill Belichick get the last laugh on this one? (Dale Zanine/Reuters)