There is no other experience in all of sports like being a Patriots fan. It's a never-ending, Zen-like existence. An exercise in patience, stoicism, and delayed gratification. Here's what I said two days ago:
While acknowledging the alarming thinness on the current roster at Mac Jones' 10-and-2, I wrote:
[G]uard is perhaps the most boring of all positions. They're practical, as opposed to being sexy. Like the pre-owned Toyota RAV-4 you buy your teenager because it's under warranty and has a good safety rating, not the muscle car that has a back floor custom built as a landing spot for prom dresses. And as much as Bill Belichick is philosophically committed to building from the inside-to-out, he's only drafted 14 guards in his time in New England. From Nick Kaczur to William Sherman last year. And none as high as Logan Mankins with the last pick in the first round in 2005.
Still, it's an area of need now and going forward. But in an effort to be honest, I totally get there is minimal interest in this position. So I'm going to try to reduce the time I spend on this and the amount of information I provide accordingly. I've got better things to do than write this just for myself. Not really, but you get the point.
And on the guard who turns out to be their first round selection:
Later Round Projects:
Cole Strange, Tennessee-Chattanooga. 6-5, 307 lbs, 5.03, 31 reps
After establishing that his 31 Bench Press reps was one behind Combine leader Zion Johnson of Boston College:
Strange has made All-Conference an impressive five times. In fact, any more time and he'd have risked being one of those losers who come back to school to hang out when they should've moved on with their lives. Like Rachel and Kurt in Season 5 of Glee. Not surprisingly given his height, weight and speed, he's more of a mover than a power blocker. Someone who can get out in front on a pull or a screen to take out a linebacker or safety. And oftentimes both. He'll need to add bulk in order to not get blown off the blocks by 320 pounders in the pros. But there's room on his frame to put the mass once he gets his pump on for a team willing to be patient.
Compares to the Other Leading Brand: JC Tretter
So while I can't in any way, shape or form ask for congratulations for writing up a guy as a "Later Round" prospect that the Patriots personnel department decided was worthy of the 29th overall pick, I will take credit for at least trying to brace everybody for the boring, unglamorous, practical, need-based pick that was to come. There were sexy skill position guys and exciting, impact defenders all over the latter half of Round 1. And we dropped back to select the most practical position on the field. And the highest pick ever out of Chattanooga. Because apparently the Pats college scouts see something in Strange that virtually no one else does.
Right now, consider my palms as up and my shoulders as shrugged as yours. Until we hear from the team, that's all I got. And as we wait to see him against NFL competition, I'll be preparing all the Doctor Strange references that I hope will write themselves for the next 10 years.