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2022 NFL Draft: Five biggest reaches include Patriots taking Cole Strange in the first round

The NFL welcomed 262 new players into the league at the 2022 NFL Draft this weekend. Naturally, as evaluators combed through hundreds of different prospects leading up to this three-day spectacle, there were going to be varying opinions about specific prospects. That’s especially true for this class that was billed as an extremely deep collection of talent, albeit without the wide array of clear-cut blue-chippers at the top. With that in mind, no draft boards are going to be exactly the same, which sets up the possibility for clubs to go against the consensus and reach for players that they want to add to their roster. 

Below, we’ve highlighted that angle of the draft as we circled five of the biggest reaches that we saw throughout the weekend.  

Cole Strange (No. 29) to Patriots

The biggest head-scratcher from Round 1 was the New England Patriots taking UT-Chattanooga guard Cole Strange at No. 29 overall. While talented and expected to start at left guard out of the gate, the consensus on Strange was that he was more of a Day 2 prospect who would hear his name called around the end of the second round or beginning of the third. In fact, the Los Angeles Rams thought that he may be available when they first picked at No. 104 overall. 

Houston traded up to No. 44 overall in the second round to draft Metchie. While the Alabama product is a solid player, he wasn’t expected to come off the board this early on Day 2 and is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the SEC Championship game. Not only was taking Metchie at this spot a bit too high, but there were a number of other pass-catchers on the board with higher ceilings like Georgia’s George Pickens and Skyy Moore out of Western Michigan. 

Here’s what CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Chris Trapasso had to say about the pick while giving the pick a C- for a grade: “Vertical specialist. Ran a variety of intricate downfield routes at Alabama. Tracks it over his shoulder awesomely. Not overly fast deep. Minimal YAC. Smaller frame. Trading up for a specialist is a little strange.”

New Orleans does need a cornerback, but Taylor was looked at as a mid-round prospect rather than someone plucked in the second at No. 49 overall. He fits the physical mold of a Saints corner as he stands 6-feet, 199 pounds, but is CBS Sports’ 83rd ranked prospect overall and the 10th-best corner in this class. Taylor likely won’t be able to start out of the gate for New Orleans as the 23-year-old will need to continue developing. Given all that, the Saints may have been able to trade down, collect some assets, and still land the player later in the draft. 

Trapasso noted that No. 93 overall was “way early” for San Francisco to take Davis-Price while giving the pick a D grade. On his final big board of the top 300 prospects, Trapasso listed Davis-Price as the 276th-ranked player and to likely be a priority undrafted free agent. By those standards, the LSU product coming off the board in the third is eye-popping. Of course, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan does have a knack for finding talent at the running back position, but this pick was certainly a head-scratcher from a value standpoint.

Robinson was drafted just a bit earlier than expected when New York selected him with the 43rd overall pick in the second round. He was CBS Sports’ WR15 and the 105th-ranked prospect overall, so it seemed like he was earmarked to be a third-rounder. Part of the reason Robinson was projected to go in that range is due to his size as he stands just 5-foot-8. Despite all that, it will be fascinating to see how Brian Daboll utilizes his playmaking ability in their offense, especially when the organization paid a somewhat of a premium to ensure that he’ll be on their roster




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