3 Patriots Draft Picks Who Are Officially Busts Following 2023 Season

The New England Patriots don't always strike gold when it comes to their draft picks. Now that the 2023 NFL season is in the books, it's officially time to label these three former picks as busts.

Mac Jones is officially a bust after the 2023 NFL season.
Mac Jones is officially a bust after the 2023 NFL season. / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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3. LG Cole Strange — 2022 Round 1, Pick 29

The Patriots left a lot of fans scratching their heads when they drafted Cole Stranger 29th overall in 2022. New England could've used that pick to draft offensive playmakers like Christian Watson, Kenneth Walker III, or Breece Hall, but opted to go with a guard out of Chattanooga, which hasn't generated a Pro Bowl or All-Pro offensive lineman in over 60 years.

Strange's rookie season left much to be desired. He surrendered 23 total pressures while taking six penalties across 598 pass-block snaps while also finishing with a putrid 48.3 run-block grade, per Pro Football Focus.

The 2023 campaign wasn't much better, though. While Strange's run-block grade increased to 66.2, his pass-block mark dropped from 67.8 to 57.7 after allowing 22 pressures on 340 pass-block downs — only one fewer than last year despite playing 258 fewer snaps due to injury.

I know that some offensive linemen take a bit longer to develop, but I don't think Strange's ceiling is all that high. He has solid moments now and then, but it's looking more and more like taking him with a first-round pick was the wrong choice. If anything, the Patriots should've used the 29th pick to draft Watson before drafting an O-lineman 50th overall instead of Thornton.

Hopefully, Strange finds a way to turn things around in 2024 because it's harder to look at him as anything but a bust for now.

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