2022 NFL Draft grades roundup: Patriots' Cole Strange pick draws varied opinions

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2022 NFL Draft grades roundup: Pats' first-round pick draws strong reaction originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots made the most surprising pick of the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft by taking Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange with the 29th overall selection.

It was a head scratcher, to say the least, and it definitely caught plenty of people off guard. One of the biggest reasons for that is the fact most experts projected Strange to be a third-rounder, or maybe someone who could sneak into the late second round.

Perry: Patriots pass up quality talent to fill a self-inflicted need

Even Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay had an incredible reaction when he learned the Patriots took Strange in Round 1.

Strange does project to be a solid player, and potentially a Week 1 starter at guard. He's a tough, athletic and fundamentally sound offensive lineman. The Patriots also lost both of their starting guards from last season -- Ted Karras and Shaq Mason -- earlier this offseason. So there's no doubt Strange fills an important roster need.

But could the Patriots have taken him on Day 2 of the draft and addressed a premium position like cornerback in the first round? Probably.

The reaction to the Strange pick was pretty intense, as you can imagine. Here's a roundup of expert draft grades for the Patriots' surprising first-round pick.

Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston: D

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: C

Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: D

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: D

FOX Sports: B-

Pro Football Focus: Poor

Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated: D+

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: B-

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: D

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report: F