BOSTON (CBS) -- Bill Belichick doesn't run his football operation based on what the supposed "draft experts" believe to be true. Never has it been more clear than in the first two rounds of the 2022 draft.
In round one, after trading down eight spots, the Patriots went off the beaten path by drafting Cole Strange, a guard out of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Strange was expected to be picked in the second or third round, but the Patriots liked him and picked him at No. 29.
A night later, the Patriots traded up four spots, indicating they were hot on a particular player and didn't want to risk losing him to another team. That player was Tyquan Thornton, a wide receiver out of Baylor who was not predicted by anybody to be taken in the second round -- or really even the third round, for that matter.
The Athletic's Dane Brugler had Thornton listed as the 176th best available prospect. While his speed is undeniable, his size makes him a major question mark at the NFL level. Brugler considered Thornton as a candidate to be picked early on day three.
NFL.com's Lance Zierlein declared Thornton to be "worthy of a shot" but not until the third day of the draft -- rounds four through seven.
ESPN's Mel Kiper considered Thornton a fourth-round pick, but ESPN's Jeremy Fowler did note that the Packers and Saints both liked Thornton. Fellow ESPNer Matt Miller said this:
Of course, as stated, draft projections are not scientific. Surely, many players have far surpassed the expectations placed upon them when they were entering the league. The Patriots have been a fertile ground for such development and success over the past two decades, too.
Still, through two rounds, the Patriots are clearly throwing around some heavy draft capital on players they could likely have gotten later in the draft.
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