Pick update: Bill Belichick, who is known for spotting talent in interior offensive linemen, reached to grab strange with the 29th overall pick. In the end, this pick could very well look like a master stroke by the wily coach, but it’s hard not to believe New England could have gotten him at more of a discount.
As a five-year starter at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Strange is going to be one of the older prospects taken in the 2022 NFL Draft, but that shouldn’t hinder his role holding down the offensive line in the middle of the trenches.
Small-school prospects always face some questions about their level of competition, but Strange made waves as a college players as well as with a big showing at the Senior Bowl this year. Slotting in at guard and some center during the Senior Bowl, Strange had no problems against defenders from big time schools. He had a good showing at the Combine too, putting up numbers that had him in the 90th percentile among linemen in almost every category. He’s likely a day-two pick who could be starting in the pros this season.
Cole Strange: Scouting Report
A natural athlete with a mean streak, Strange has everything a team could want in an interior lineman. He can light up a defender with his first move off the snap, maintaining excellent pad level. He’s got the hands and footwork to stay with his man, and his lateral quickness is another asset that makes him hard to beat. Strange can also get the second level in hurry.
Despite his 307 pounds, Strange is pretty lean at 6-foot-5. His frame and quickness make him a better fit in a zone blocking scheme, where he wouldn’t be asked to consistently win man-on-man battles in the trenches against bigger, stronger defensive tackles. He has done some work as a center, but that area of his game might need some refinement for him to find a job as a pivot in the pros.
Mock Draft landing spots
Mel Kiper/Todd McShay (ESPN): No. 60, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“This is a clear need position for Tampa Bay, which lost Alex Cappa in free agency and Ali Marpet to retirement. Even after the trade for Shaq Mason, the Bucs have a hole. Strange, who had a really solid Senior Bowl, started 44 games at left guard in college.” — Kiper
Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports): No. 81, New York Giants
Sporting News: No. 90, Tennessee Titans
“The Titans have limited depth at guard around center Ben Jones. Strange offers natural size and strength and has untapped athleticism.”