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How a fascinating first round of the NFL Draft unfolded

Jae C. Hong
The NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas. Jae C. Hong/Associated Press


The Patriots took guard Cole Strange with the No. 29 pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Read more here.

The Patriots needed a guard after both starters departed this offseason, Ted Karras to Cincinnati via free agency and Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay via trade.

Strange played on the left side last season, but may slot in on the right side in New England because third-year lineman Michael Onwenu already has experience at left guard.

Read on to see how a wild first round of the NFL Draft went down.

The Patriots still have 10 picks to make. Here’s a rundown of where else they’re slated to pick.

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And see every pick in the 2022 NFL Draft here.

Picks to know

The Vikings took Everett native and Georgia DB Louis Cine at No. 32.

The Patriots took Chattanooga OL Cole Strange at No. 29.

The Chargers took Boston College OL Zion Johnson at No. 17.

Draft resources: Click here to search our prospect profile database | Jim McBride’s position-by-position breakdown | Predicting every Patriots pick | Sign up for Point After

Meet the locals drafted in the first round — 12:18 a.m.

By Trevor Hass

Two players with local ties heard their names called Thursday night in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Zion Johnson, a standout offensive lineman from Boston College, went 17th overall to the Los Angeles Chargers. Lewis Cine, a skilled safety from Everett and the University of Georgia, went 32nd to the Minnesota Vikings.

Read more here.

Watch: A strange reaction from Sean McVay — 12:13 a.m.

By Nicole Yang

The Patriots’ decision to select guard Cole Strange in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft surprised many, including Rams coach Sean McVay.

McVay and Rams general manager Les Snead were speaking to the media when New England’s pick was announced late Thursday evening, so the team’s live stream of the press conference captured their immediate reactions.

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“Oh, Strange just went,” a smiling McVay said.

Find out what else he said here.

Four thoughts on the Patriots’ decision to draft Cole Strange at No. 29 — 11:54 p.m.

1. New England is in need of help along the interior of the offensive line, particularly at guard, — and especially after losing studs like Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, and Ted Karras the last few years.

While Strange is seen a small-school star out of Chattanooga who could have some growing to do, if everything works out according to plan, he would be slotted in at one of the vacant guard spots and be part of the protection plan for quarterback Mac Jones.

2. Short-term — thinking this summer — Strange could very well be the sort who steps in for Karras.

Strange impressed people at the Senior Bowl when he was asked to take some reps at center. His versatility will allow him to see the field in some form or fashion. In college, he started 41 games at left guard, two games at left tackle, and one game at center. At the same time, Strange’s ceiling is likely as a guard in the NFL.

3. With Dante Scarnecchia no longer coaching the New England offensive line, I’m curious if we are going to see the Patriots start to utilize more first-round picks on guys who are (theoretically) NFL ready, as opposed to mid-round guys who might need to get coached up before they are ready for serious reps in the NFL. Although with David Andrews on his hip, Strange will be in good hands from the jump.

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4. In hindsight, these Tweets from Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy are really interesting. Nagy worked with Belichick in Cleveland, and is very much in tune with Belichick’s team-building approach. For his part, Nagy was clearly very high on Strange and his performance at the Senior Bowl this past February. Certainly food for thought.

Scouting Cole Strange, the obscure OL the Patriots just took — 11:39 p.m.

By Katie McInerney

The Patriots drafted Cole Strange, an offensive lineman out of Chattanooga, with the 29th pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Who is Cole Strange? Here’s a rundown of his scouting report, courtesy Field Level Media, plus a highlight reel.

Round 1 done: Here’s the final rundown — 11:37 p.m.

Here’s a look at all of Round 1:

Jacksonville: DE Travon Walker

Detroit: DE Aidan Hutchinson

Houston: CB Derek Stingley, Jr.

NY Jets: CB Sauce Gardner

NY Giants: Kayvon Thibodeau

Carolina: T Ikem Ekwonu

NY Giants: T Evan Neal

Atlanta: WR Drake London

Seattle: T Charles Cross

NY Jets: WR Garrett Wilson

New Orleans: WR Chris Olave

Detroit: WR Jameson Williams

Philadelphia: DT Jordan Davis

Baltimore: S Kyle Hamilton

Houston: G Kenyon Green

Washington: WR Jahan Dotson

LA Chargers: OL Zion Johnson

Tennessee: WR Treylon Burks

New Orleans: T Trevor Penning

Pittsburgh: QB Kenny Pickett

Kansas City: CB Trent McDuffie

Green Bay: LB Quay Walker

Buffalo: CB Kaiir Elam

Dallas: T Tyler Smith

Baltimore: C Tyler Linderbaum

NY Jets: DE Jermaine Johnson

Jacksonville: LB Devin Lloyd

Green Bay: DT Devonte Wyatt

New England: G Cole Strange

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Kansas City: DE George Karlaftis

Cincinnati: S Daxton Hill

Minnesota: S Louis Cine

Was the choice of Strange in the first round too high? — 11:24 p.m.

By Nicole Yang

There are plenty of reasons to like Strange, a five-year starter, but most mock drafts had him available in the second or third round.

Why the Patriots took Cole Strange — 11:17 p.m.

By Nicole Yang

The Patriots needed a guard after both starters departed this offseason, Ted Karras to Cincinnati via free agency and Shaq Mason to Tampa Bay via trade. Strange played on the left side last season, but may slot in on the right side in New England because third-year lineman Michael Onwenu already has experience at left guard.

Pats take G Cole Strange — 11:13 p.m.

The Patriots take guard Cole Strange out of Chattanooga at No. 29.

Wyatt to Green Bay, Pats on the clock again — 11:09 p.m.

At No. 28, Green Bay lands DT Devonte Wyatt. The Patriots are on the clock again.

Jags swing a deal to move up and take Lloyd — 11:03 p.m.

The Jaguars made a deal, trading up to No. 27 and taking linebacker Devin Lloyd, a guy many had ticketed for New England. Lloyd had eight sacks and four picks last season for Utah.

Jets jump up to No. 26 — 10:56 p.m.

New York moves up to No. 26 to take FSU edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II, who had 12 sacks last season with the Seminoles. This has been a good opening night for the Jets.

Ravens go OL at No. 25 — 10:51 p.m.

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Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum goes to Baltimore with the 25th pick. A 6-foot-3, 291-pounder, he won the Rimington Trophy as a member of the Hawkeyes last year. Considered the best center in the Draft.

OT Smith goes No. 24 to the Cowboys — 10:45 p.m.

The Cowboys take offensive tackle Tyler Smith out of Tulsa at No. 24. Helps shore up that line in front of Dak Prescott.

Updated draft order — 10:34 p.m.

Jacksonville: DE Travon Walker

Detroit: DE Aidan Hutchinson

Houston: CB Derek Stingley, Jr.

NY Jets: CB Sauce Gardner

NY Giants: Kayvon Thibodeau

Carolina: T Ikem Ekwonu

NY Giants: T Evan Neal

Atlanta: WR Drake London

Seattle: T Charles Cross

NY Jets: WR Garrett Wilson

New Orleans: WR Chris Olave

Detroit: WR Jameson Williams

Philadelphia: DT Jordan Davis

Baltimore: S Kyle Hamilton

Houston: G Kenyon Green

Washington: WR Jahan Dotson

LA Chargers: OL Zion Johnson

Tennessee: WR Treylon Burks

New Orleans: T Trevor Penning

Pittsburgh: QB Kenny Pickett

Kansas City: LB Quay Walker

Buffalo: CB Kaiir Elam

Dallas:

Baltimore:

Tennessee:

Tampa Bay:

Green Bay:

New England:

Kansas City:

Cincinnati:

Minnesota:

Belichick and Andy Reid partner up on a deal again — 10:29 p.m.

When Andy Reid was in Philadelphia, it seemed like he and Belichick would make draft-related deals every year. They pulled off another tonight when the Patriots sent No. 21 to Kansas City for three later-round selections.

Anyway, the Chiefs took cornerback Trent McDuffie out of Washington at No. 21.

Will the Patriots trade out completely? — 10:26 p.m.

By Nicole Yang

Coach Bill Belichick has traded out of the first round four times, most recently in 2020 when the Patriots moved back to take safety Kyle Dugger early in the second round.

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Pats trade out of No. 21, get three picks in return — 10:24 p.m.

Reports now indicate New England has traded out of the 21st overall spot with Kansas City for the 29th, 94th and 121st overall selections.

Pats trade out of No. 21 — 10:21 p.m.

Multiple reports indicating that the Patriots have dealt out of No. 21. More updates to come.

Steelers take Pitt QB Kenny Pickett — 10:16 p.m.

Steelers take Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett at No. 20. New England is on the clock.

Saints select OT Trevor Penning — 10:13 p.m.

Offensive tackle Trevor Penning goes 19th overall to New Orleans. One more pick before New England is on the clock.

Eagles making moves — 10:10 p.m.

After acquiring A,J. Brown, the Eagles have announced a four-year extension for the veteran receiver. Big move for Philly.

Scouting Boston College OL Zion Johnson with the Chargers — 10:07 p.m.

From Field Level Media:

Johnson spent two years at FCS Davidson before transferring to Power 5 Boston College. He started seven games at left guard in 2019 before moving outside, and made 11 starts at left tackle in 2020.

Strengths:

His pro comp? None other than Isaiah Wynn of the Patriots. Johnson is less athletically gifted with his body control and quickness has versatility across the line and should warrant similar early-round draft capital.

Tennessee takes WR Treylon Burks — 10:03 p.m.

After their seismic move to deal away Brown, the Titans took wide receiver Treylon Burks out of Arkansas.

Three picks to the Pats — 10:03 p.m.

New England is three picks away, and the following prospects are still available:

DE Jermaine Johnson

OT Trevor Penning

DB Dax Hill

LB Nakobe Dean

LB Quay Walker

LB Devin Lloyd,

DL Devonte Wyatt

Big deal for the Eagles! — 10:01 p.m.

Zion Johnson to the Chargers — 10:00 p.m.

The Chargers get my guy Zion Johnson, the guard out of Boston College. Smart, steady presence who should be a rock for LA for many years.

Dotson to Washington — 9:58 p.m.

Catching up…here’s what we have:

Jacksonville: DE Travon Walker

Detroit: DE Aidan Hutchinson

Houston: CB Derek Stingley, Jr.

NY Jets: CB Sauce Gardner

NY Giants: Kayvon Thibodeau

Carolina: T Ikem Ekwonu

NY Giants: T Evan Neal

Atlanta: WR Drake London

Seattle: T Charles Cross

NY Jets: WR Garrett Wilson

New Orleans: WR Chris Olave

Detroit: WR Jameson Williams

Philadelphia: DT Jordan Davis

Baltimore: S Kyle Hamilton

Houston: G Kenyon Green

Washington: WR Jahan Dotson

LA Chargers:

Philadelphia:

New Orleans:

Pittsburgh:

New England:

Analysis: Most intriguing options for the Patriots — 9:56 p.m.

By Nicole Yang

As pick No. 21 nears, there are some exciting options on the board for the Patriots.

Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie, Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd, and Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean could all be instant impact players on defense, while Iowa tackle Trevor Penning could help reinforce the offensive line.

Read more about what our beat writers think the Patriots should do.

More trades! — 9:53 p.m.

Texans take Green at No. 15 — 9:52 p.m.

Trades are coming quickly — Houston is taking guard Kenyon Green 15th overall.

Ravens go big at safety at No. 14 — 9:48 p.m.

The Ravens take the first safety in the draft at No. 14 with the selection of Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. Hamilton is a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder who plays like a linebacker. Big, tough, smart, and fast. A classic Ravens’ choice.

Eagles trade up for DT Jordan Davis — 9:41 p.m.

The Eagles jumped over the Ravens to take defensive tackle Jordan Davis out of Georgia at No. 13. Big dude (6-foot-6 and 341 pounds) who is considered stout against the run but still remarkably agile enough to get after the quarterback. Look at that speed.

Eight picks until the Patriots at No. 21.

Lions take Alabama WR Jameson Williams — 9:33 p.m.

The Lions moved from No. 32 to No. 12 after a deal with the Vikings to take Jameson Williams, a wide receiver out of Alabama. Love this pickup — one of the most dynamic players in all of college football last year. Williams, who is 6-foot-2 and 189 pounds, had 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. I know there are knee questions with him, but in my experience, this is a home run.

Another Buckeye off the board — 9:27 p.m.

The Saints moved up to take WR Chris Olave at No. 11. Back-to-back Ohio State receivers go off the board. The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Olave had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Saints and Commanders make a deal, but Pats still at No. 21 — 9:25 p.m.

Washington and New Orleans made a deal, and the Saints are now picking at No. 11. (Malik Willis time?) The Patriots are still at No. 21 overall — here’s a look at the Patriots’ current choices.

Round 1: 21st

Round 2: 54th

Round 3: 85th

Round 4: 127th

Round 5: 158th (via Dolphins)

Round 6: 183rd (via Texans)

Round 6: 200th

Round 6: 210th (via Rams)

Round 7: 245th (via Texans)

WR Garrett Wilson to the Jets at No. 10 — 9:15 p.m.

Garrett Wilson goes 10th overall to the Jets, the second wide receiver taken in the draft. Wonder how this impacts a possible pursuit of Deebo Samuel? We shall see. Regardless, the 6-foot, 188-pound Wilson had 70 catches for the Buckeyes last season. Two good boundary players to start the draft for the Jets in Gardner and Wilson.

Another tackle off the board — 9:10 p.m.

Tackle Charles Cross of Mississippi State goes to the Seahawks at No. 9. No quarterbacks taken in the top nine selections, and only one offensive skill position player taken in that time.

The Jets are back on the clock.

London Calling! Falcons take WR at No. 8 — 9:02 p.m.

Wide receiver Drake London goes eighth overall to Atlanta — he had 88 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns last season for USC. He’s the first offensive skill position player taken.

Here’s a look at the top 8 choices:

Jacksonville: DE Travon Walker

Detroit: DE Aidan Hutchinson

Houston: CB Derek Stingley, Jr.

NY Jets: CB Sauce Gardner

NY Giants: Kayvon Thibodeau

Carolina: T Ikem Ekwonu

NY Giants: T Evan Neal

Atlanta: WR Drake London

Back-to-back tackles as Neal comes off the board — 8:57 p.m.

Evan Neal — a favorite of my buddy Levan Reid — goes to the Giants at No. 6. Classic tackle frame (long and strong) and a good makeup (out of Alabama). If he’s healthy, you can slot this guy at the end of your offensive line for the next decade. Good start for the folks at MetLife this evening with Gardner, Thibodeaux, and Neal.

Panthers stop run on defense with selection of OT Ickey Ekwonu — 8:50 p.m.

The Panthers take North Carolina State offensive Ickey Ekwonu sixth overall. Surprise that he went over fellow tackle Evan Neal (and any of the available quarterbacks). You have to figure Neal will be next off the board.

Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeau taken fifth by the Giants — 8:43 p.m.

Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux is taken by the Giants at No. 5. Big-time pass rushing end — maybe the best pure pass rusher in this draft. Five straight defensive players taken to start things this evening. (For the first time since 1991, the first five picks in the draft were on the defensive side of the ball.)

‘Apple’ Sauce goes fourth to the Jets — 8:33 p.m.

Cornerback Sauce Gardner goes to the Jets at No. 4. Highest boom-bust potential of anyone in the top four picks. A bold pick, he’s the fourth straight defensive player taken.

Stingley to Texans at No. 3 — 8:27 p.m.

Unsure what the Texans and Nick Caserio were going to do — I would have guessed that he would have followed the old Belichick approach and built from the inside out with a lineman. But he went after one of the best corners in the draft in Derek Stingley out of LSU. Intriguing puzzle piece. The Jets are on the clock with the fourth choice. (Sauce Gardner?)

Hutchinson goes second overall to Lions — 8:22 p.m.

Indeed, Aidan Hutchinson went No. 2 to Detroit. Great pick that should also give the Lions a little PR bump — always good to keep a Michigan kid at home. Good building block to help get them to where they ultimately want to be. (Hutchinson feels like a super-sized version of Chas Winovich.)

Walker goes No. 1 to Jags — 8:18 p.m.

DE Travon Walker is a smart, safe pick — if he stays healthy, he could be a big part of a Jacksonville rebuild. Great production who can hold up against the run and rush the passer. If the Lions don’t take Aidan Hutchinson, I’m not sure what they’re thinking.

Official Price Prediction — 7:58 p.m.

If he’s there and the Patriots’ stick at No. 21, I’m saying New England takes BC offensive lineman Zion Johnson.

Timing is everything — 7:54 p.m.

For me, the chatter — and general uncertainty — around available quarterbacks in this year’s draft simply reinforces the fact that the Patriots really got it right when it came to Mac Jones last year.

Best draft video of all time — 7:25 p.m.

I post this every year on social media — in my opinion, it still remains one of the best things ESPN has ever done.

Could the loss of Scar alter OL draft style? — 7:16 p.m.

Spoke with a few people around the NFL over the last few weeks, and one very interesting question came up around the Patriots: Now that Dante Scarnecchia is gone, will New England tweak its overall approach to drafting offensive line talent? That is to say, without Scarnecchia in the fold, could the Patriots focus more on acquiring blue-chip offensive line talent in the first or second rounds instead of waiting around for mid-round guys who could have been (theoretically) coached up by Scarnecchia? Interesting thought; we might see that manifest itself (at least in part) tonight or Friday if New England chooses a guard early as opposed to another position.

Big weekend for veterans as well as prospects — 7:10 p.m.

My dream assignment as a reporter around the NFL Draft would be to sit with a veteran and watch as the team he plays for selects a player at his position in the first or second round. Like, with Aaron Rodgers when the Packers took Jordan Love, or even with Brady when New England drafted Jimmy Garoppolo. Of course, there’s no way you can actually predict that, but my point follows an old Mike Vrabel quote, who once said — and I’m paraphrasing — he would watch the draft every year to see which players his team was trying to get to replace him.

Following that thread, it’s important to know that you will inevitably hear all the right things from guys who have been in the NFL for years after the weekend is done — excited to see our team improve, happy to get some depth, blah, blah, blah. But the truth is that in some cases, the team he plays for has actively dropped competition right into his lap, and he now has to deal with that. I think about it when I hear that “Football is Family” phrase from the NFL. “Yes, son, your Mother and I are very happy with your development, but we’ve decided to go in another direction when it comes to the role of middle son. I’m sure you’ll understand.”

Something to ponder on Belichick’s draft history — 7:03 p.m.

In my experience, the first round is when the Patriots historically taken the guys they feel the most confident about — in their best years, that meant guys like Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins, Nate Solder, Richard Seymour, Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Jerod Mayo, and Devin McCourty. This hasn’t always held true, but more often than not, New England’s first-round picks under Belichick have been steady, safe selections.

The second round is when they have gotten occasionally crazy and made some reaches. Those reaches have varied, as prospects have dropped for a variety of reasons — health issues, character questions, small school prospects, or just guys who might have been position misfits in college.

At their best it’s landed them guys like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Garoppolo, Jamie Collins, Deion Branch, Sebastian Vollmer, Patrick Chung and Kyle Dugger. The flip side? It’s meant fundamentally wasted picks on guys like Cyrus Jones, Jermaine Cunningham, Terrence Wheatley and Chad Jackson. Something to think about the next day or two.

A few numbers when it comes to trades — 6:40 p.m.

No one loves making draft weekend deals like Bill Belichick. Here are a few numbers for you to think about as we draft closer to the start of the festivities:

83: The number of draft-day trades by Belichick in his 22 drafts with the Patriots. Since 2000, Philadelphia is second with 64 draft-day trades.

28: The number of times since 2000 that New England has traded down in draft-day exchanges.

28: The number of times since 2000 that New England has traded up in draft-day exchanges.

27: The number of times since 2000 that New England has made draft-day trades involving players and/or future draft considerations.

3: The three draft-day trades with the Rams in 2019 are the most with a single team in a draft under Belichick and also the most in team history. The Patriots previously traded twice with Detroit in 2018, Green Bay in 2012, Baltimore in 2009, Oakland in 2007 and Detroit in 2001.

History favors the offensive line — 6:31 p.m.

Historically, the Patriots have taken more offensive linemen in the first round than any other position. Here’s a statistical breakdown of New England’s first rounders:

12: Offensive line

11 Defensive back, defensive line

8: Running back

7: Wide receiver

5: Linebacker

4: Quarterback

3: Tight end

That’s 34 on offense and 27 on defense. (In all, the Patriots have drafted 10 defensive players in the first round under Bill Belichick.)

Vote: Will Pats stick at 21? — 6:25 p.m.

Will No. 21 be lucky for the Patriots? — 6:05 p.m.

Regardless of whether or not you think New England will stick at No. 21, you can’t deny the fact the Patriots have enjoyed some measure of success at that spot.

New England has held the 21st pick in the draft five times since 1970, and have picked Chandler Jones (2012), Laurence Maroney (2006), Vince Wilfork (2004), Dan Graham (2002), and Tim Fox (1976).

OK, so four out of five isn’t bad.

League-wide, two of the most notable names taken at 21 include a pair of Hall of Fame receivers: Randy Moss (1998 by Minnesota) and Lynn Swann (1974 by Pittsburgh).

We are on the clock — 6:00 p.m.

Welcome to the 2022 NFL Draft! Christophre Price will be here with live updates for Thursday and Friday night, through the first three rounds of this year’s draft. We’ll have a focus on Patriots’ information, obviously, but we’ll also expand to look league-wide when needed when it comes to trades and other updates. New England is currently slotted to pick 21st overall — if that holds, it should be just before 11 p.m. this evening.

Here’s a look at the Patriots’ picks this weekend:

First round: No. 21 overall

Second round: No. 54

Third round: No. 85

Fourth round: No. 127

Fifth round: No. 158

Fifth round: No. 170

Sixth round: No. 200

Sixth round: No. 210

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