Cole Strange already showcasing his elite athleticism during Patriots’ offseason workouts

The New England Patriots selecting Chattanooga guard Cole Strange in the first round of last month’s draft did come as a surprise to fans and analysts alike. After all, he was projected as a third-round selection by a majority of pundits.

That said, Strange was not as high an overdraft as it seems. Not only does it seem the NFL was much higher on him than those outside the league, the 23-year-old also brought some legitimate first-round traits to the table: his athletic profile is nothing short of elite.

The Patriots caught a first glimpse of it last weekend. Strange was among the participants in the team’s rookie minicamp, and he left a positive first impression on one of his positional coaches.

“We had the guys in this weekend for rookie minicamp,” Matt Patricia said during a media conference call on Tuesday. “You get to see them on the field, but you’re also looking at them compared to other guys that are just walking in the building for the first time. [On Monday], we get into the skills portion of what we can do in Phase 2, and now you can get them mixed in with the veteran guys.

“And I think from that aspect of it, you can see his athleticism. You can see it match up with the guys that are vets or have been here, or have been in the NFL, which is really good. All of those are things that we saw and things that we like, but he’s got a long way to go.

Using Kent Lee Platte’s Relative Athletic Score as a point of reference, Strange is one of the most athletic guards to enter the league in the last 35 years. Since 1987, only six other players at the position have posted a higher RAS than the Patriots’ first-round investment:

Of course, athleticism alone does not make a football player. Patricia basically said so himself on Tuesday when he pointed out that Strange and the rest of New England’s rookies still have ways to go before getting to the same level as their more experienced teammates.

“The other part about putting him out with the veterans, guys that have been here, is you just realize how further along those veterans are. How long they’ve actually just from this year been working towards getting ready for football,” he said.

“What happens with the college guys is they come out and they’re really trying to get ready for a pro day or a combine or something like that, not necessarily football skills. And that’s the part that we’ve really got to keep pushing to catch up with.”

Strange was selected 29th overall by the Patriots. With both Ted Karras and Shaq Mason having left the team this offseason, he projects as a starter along the interior offensive line.

Full steam ahead on LB hype train: Youth and speed rule in 2022

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Mike Reiss says the Patriots are counting on a lift at linebacker from Cameron McGrone. Their 2021 fifth-round pick, who missed his rookie season because of a torn left ACL, adds youth and speed to a revamped group at inside linebacker.
  • Evan Lazar finds the Patriots assistant coaches “excited” about second-year LB Cameron McGrone, and hopeful that he will add more speed to the defense.
  • Andrew Callahan talks up the LB Cameron McGrone hype train. Second-year player McGrone is the third-youngest player on the team, and he personifies — at least for now — a global shift for the defense toward younger, faster and smaller players.
  • Zack Cox explains how Cameron McGrone impressed the Patriots as a rookie despite not playing.
  • Karen Guregian relays OLB coach Steve Belichick pumping up young pass rushers Josh Uche and Ronnie Perkins.
  • Andrew Callahan highlights Joe Judge on how he’ll coach Patriots QB Mac Jones.
  • Arnav Sharma (Patriots Country) NFL’s Best 25 Under 25: Where’s Patriots Mac Jones? PFF’s 25 top players under 25 years old has a notable omission. /Amazing the lack of respect for Mac Jones.
  • Dakota Randall’s Bailey Zappe Film Review: Could Patriots QB be more than just backup?
  • CBS Boston says the Patriots still don’t have an offensive play-caller to replace Josh McDaniels. /Or they do, but they’re just not saying.
  • Andy Hart demands Bill Belichick should pick a play caller ASAP.
  • Mike D’Abate (Patriots Country) Fear-less: Pats looking to new RBs coach to keep team moving in right direction.
  • Phil Perry notes Matt Patricia raves about Patriots draft pick Cole Strange’s athleticism.
  • Zack Cox tells us how first-round pick Cole Strange looked in his first Patriots practices: The athleticism that helped make Cole Strange a first-round draft pick has been evident.
  • Murph (E2GSports) Big Vince Wilfork will be fitted for a Patriots Red Jacket as you the fans have voted him to be enshrined into the Patriots Hall Of Fame.
  • Mike D’Abate (Patriots Country) Big Vince will be getting his call to the Patriots Hall.
  • Chris Mason hears Vince Wilfork explain how Patriots coach Bill Belichick made him the ‘best nose tackle to ever play the game.’ /He must mean Brady.
  • Ian Logue (PatsFans) Wilfork is headed to the Patriots Hall of Fame.
  • Alex Mullin (GilletteGazette) Breaking traditions as Patriots plan to joint practice wIth the Raiders in off-season.
  • Patriots Talk podcast: Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry talk about how the Patriots coaching plan of attack should be a concern for Mac Jones. (22.23 min.)
  • One Patriots Place podcast: Clare, Murph and Steve are joined by Alex Barth to talk all things Patriots. (1 hour)
  • Locked On Patriots podcast: Mike and Murph break down the Pats’ 2022 prime time opponents. (46 min.)

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