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NFL Draft: Chattanooga’s Cole Strange Selected 29th Overall by New England Patriots

Strange was the second FCS offensive lineman taken on Thursday night.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Despite entering the draft as a projected second-round pick, Cole Strange heard his name called in the first round by the New England Patriots, making a bit of history for the FCS. For the first time since 2008, two FCS players were taken in the first round. Strange joins fellow offensive lineman Trevor Penning in this achievement.

Standing at 6’5”, 307 pounds, Strange will look to fill a spot New England was in need of on the line. In his time at Chattanooga he was an anchor up front and it all came to fruition this last fall. In 2021 Strange started in all 11 games for the Mocs and walked away with a First Team All-American selection from many of the major voters including HERO Sports, Stats Perform and Phil Steele.

Strange was invited to the Senior Bowl as well as the Combine earlier this year and he impressed at both. In Indianapolis he put up 31 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, showcasing his great strength. That number ranked second best among offensive lineman at the Combine.

Now with the Patriots, Strange will be tasked with protecting quarterback Mac Jones. He is the first player taken from Chattanooga since Corey Levin (offensive line) was selected in the 2017 Draft.