The New England Patriots had an unconventional 2022 NFL Draft.
Along with taking seven offensive players, the most during a draft since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, they weren’t afraid to go off the board with some unorthodox choices. Although that boldness could pay off, it won’t yield as many favorable draft assessments.
Seth Walder singled out guard Cole Strange, taken at pick No. 29, as the strangest choice.
“One of the most obvious mistakes a team can make is drafting a player well before it needs to,” Walder wrote. “It’s a waste of draft capital. By all indications the Patriots should not have worried about another team taking Strange until the late second round at the earliest (and more likely the third). Is it possible we outsiders misread the market on Strange? It is. But I’d say Sean McVay’s and Les Snead’s live reactions to the selection were awfully revealing.”
Meanwhile, Matt Bowden thought the Patriots had better options available when making wide receiver Tyquan Thornton the No. 50 pick.
“Thornton has the vertical juice to stretch defenses down the field and the foot quickness to create route separation,” Bowden wrote. “But given the wide receiver talent on the board at No. 50 — including George Pickens, Alec Pierce and Skyy Moore — I felt the Patriots reached a little here to draft Thornton.”
Three analysts highlighted Wan’Dale Robinson as the most head-scratching choice, believing the New York Giants reached on the 5-foot-8, 175-pound wide receiver at No. 43.
Although Day 3 picks shouldn’t draw as much scrutiny, New England added two running backs (Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris) to an already crowded room and tabbed quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round to back up 2021 first-round selection Mac Jones.
The Patriots have the track record to merit more leeway, so we’ll have to see how these questionable picks unfold.