Every year there are a few selections during the NFL Draft that will cause people to pause and scratch their heads. Usually, it is because a prospect is selected much earlier than anyone predicted during the pre-draft process. This year, the most eyebrow-raising selection was arguably the New England Patriots’ first-round pick.
To the surprise of no one, the Patriots traded down from their original selection, No. 21 overall, with the Kansas City Chiefs.
They picked up the No. 29, 94 and 121 picks in the swap. With the 29th overall pick in the draft, New England selected Chattanooga guard, Cole Strange. It was a pick that shocked a lot of people, including Strange himself.
Projected as a likely third-round pick, it came as a major surprise to get selected in the first round. So much so that he wasn’t actually sure if the phone call he received from an unknown number was really the Patriots selecting him in the first round.
His father, Greg Strange, shared a hilarious story about how Cole reacted to the pick, believing he was being pranked. He shared the story with MassLive.com.
“[Cole] said, ‘Sir, I don’t mean to be disrespectful at all, but I’ve gotta know because I’ve got some crazy friends. Is this a prank?’ The guy said, ‘Hold on just a second.’ And then Bill Belichick got on the phone and of course, unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years, you know Bill Belichick’s voice,” Greg Strange said. “As soon as I heard Bill Belichick’s voice, Cole and I both started screaming and hugging and acting crazy. Probably saying a bunch of inappropriate stuff. We were so excited. To his credit, you’ve gotta love the guy, Belichick is sitting there and when we got through, the first break he had, he said, ‘Hey Cole, you’ve gotta act like you’ve been there, man.’ It was classic to us. We absolutely loved it.”
That is certainly a moment that Cole and his family will never forget. Expecting to not receive a call until Day 2 of the draft only to be selected in the first round by the great Bill Belichick is quite a range of emotions.
Now, it is time for Strange to get to work. He is projected to be a starter from Day 1, helping protect Mac Jones and hopefully keep this Patriots offense humming during the 2022 season and beyond.