By: Ian Logue
The dust is settling following Thursday night’s selection of Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange, with the Scrappy Moc standout having been an unexpected decision when New England finally made their first pick at #29 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
After the way the night unfolded after the team traded back, it’s possible Belichick may have switched gears at that point and already felt Strange was an early second-day prospect and given that they were already at #29, he essentially valued that pick as an early second-round selection. He also possibly may have felt it wasn’t worth it to trade back again, only to see Strange taken early on day two by someone else for the sake of moving back a few spots.
Reports out of Jacksonville are that they jumped back into the round to take Lloyd because they were afraid the Patriots were going to go after him at #29, which is why they reportedly made the trade.
Belichick sounded a little cryptic during his press conference afterwards, saying that had New England not been able to move back, that Strange would have been their pick at #21. However, it doesn’t sound like that was 100% the case listening to him.
Belichick also elaborated a little more about how things unfolded, which again, reinforces the theory of why they may have targeted Strange earlier than they may have wanted to.
“There were a number of trades, there were a couple of player-for-player trades, which is kind of unusual to see,” explained Belichick. “The deck kind of got shuffled a little bit there. I’d really rather than guess at an answer here, we’ll go back tomorrow, we’ll restack our board just like we did a few hours ago going into the first round. We’ll take a look at the projected draft order and so forth and who’s around us.”
It’s pretty obvious that the massive contracts receivers are signing in free agency these days had a significant effect on how the night unfolded, as we saw a surprising number of receivers get taken far earlier than most people expected.
Looking around the rest of the Division, the Jets had a fairly good night on Thursday as they loaded up with some pretty solid talent. They snagged Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner with the #4 overall pick, followed by an explosive receiver in Wilson at #10 as well as a solid defensive player in Johnson II at #26.
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