Patriots OL - Cole Strange – 2022 Draft, Pick 29
April 29, 2022
Q: Congratulations. What do you hope to show to the Patriots and fans throughout New England- What would you say your strengths are as an offensive lineman?
CS: Well, I appreciate that, and as far as strengths go, you know, I'm confident in my abilities overall as an offensive lineman. But I guess I would say my mentality and just the fact that I do everything I can to contribute to the team and make sure that I can just add to the culture in a winning way as much as possible.
Q: Cole, obviously you were an FCS player at Chattanooga, but you did have some publicity while you were playing at Chattanooga. By all the reports, you had a very good practice week at the Senior Bowl. How important was your Senior Bowl experience, what you did there in terms of practice and the game, do you think added to the point where you got yourself a first round pick?
CS: Yes sir, I think that the Senior Bowl helped me quite a bit. The week of exposure playing against guys who are from FCS schools, SEC schools, Big-10 schools, I think that that showed to a lot of coaches that you know I was competitive enough to where it wasn't like, 'He's the guy that in FCS and he's doing well just because the competition isn't very good.' I think it was a really big week for me.
Q: Just as a quick follow-up, how familiar are you with the Patriots organization, any of the players that you know that are on the squad right now?
CS: I don't know any of the players personally. I guess I'm as familiar as the next guy, but I'm incredibly excited and very much looking forward to meeting everybody. I cannot wait.
Q: You met with the Patriots several times during the draft process. When you met with them, was there anything that stood out about those visits? And what were some questions that Bill Belichick had for you?
CS: Well, sir, I'll tell you what, as a matter of fact, I'm just going leave that question up for coach Belichick, if I can do that.
Q: Then let me ask you about the following: getting the phone call, were you as surprised as some folks on TV were when you went in the first round there? What was that moment like?
CS: I was excited, I didn't know exactly when I was going to go. I knew I was going to go, but honestly, it was just excitement. I'm here at home with my dad. I don't know what to tell you other than we're so excited and we got a village of new Patriots fans.
Q: Cole, this is Mike Reiss with ESPN. I was curious how would you describe your playing style?
CS: I would say my playing style is aggressive and relentless, I would say.
Q: Who are some of the players that you've maybe looked up to over the years or maybe even attempted to model your game after?
CS: I wouldn't really say that I modeled my game after anyone specifically. To be honest with you, I guess I've always kind of just wanted to play my own game and make it to where people are saying, 'I'd love to be able to play like Cole Strange,' you know? I guess I've never really looked at anyone else and wanted to emulate what they do. I wanted to create my own way of playing, which I would say is just aggressive and trying to play nasty and I feel like how the game of football is supposed to be played.
Q: Congratulations on the selection. There are reports out there and the mock draft that had you slated as a third-round pick by some. Does that add any motivation to you as you become a professional football player now?
CS: To tell you the truth, I've kind of held this stance and this thought process from the very beginning. No matter where I got drafted or where I got picked, I was going to
push the exact same way with the same chip on my shoulder that I've always had. I know that this is just the beginning and whenever I get there, I'm going to have to put in a lot of work. And that's just how I've always felt, really. No matter where I went.
Q: Hey Cole, congratulations, welcome to New England. Coach Belichick just spoke with us and said you probably still would've been their guy even if they stayed at 21. What does that mean to you for them to have that type of confidence and belief that you were always their guy from the beginning?
CS: Yes, sir. Honestly, their confidence in me, it means [inaudible]. Coach Belichick's probably the greatest coach there's ever been and I don't have enough positive things to say, and I can't tell you how excited I am to be a Patriot, I really can't. I'll tell you I just cannot wait to get up there and start playing and practicing. I cannot wait.