New England Patriots offensive lineman Cole Strange steps on the field before an NFL football team practice, in Foxborough, Mass., Monday, May 23, 2022. Credit: Steven Senne / AP

The Patriots have officially locked up their entire draft class.

The team agreed to terms with first-round guard Cole Strange, second-round wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, and fourth-round quarterback Bailey Zappe on Thursday afternoon. They’d been the final three left to sign, so New England enters the summer break with everybody under contract.

The delay in signing the last of the rookies was likely due to New England’s salary cap situation more than anything; there’s very little wiggle room at the moment.

While Zappe and Thornton were on scout teams during spring practices, Strange was treated like a plug-and-play starter at left guard.

Though they aren’t in pads yet, Strange flashed some on the nastiness that showed up on his college tape. Both days of minicamp, he got in scuffles that drew a slew of whistles, but weren’t enough to get thrown out of practice. The first day, Strange ran down the field to pounce on a loose ball, Matthew Judon wasn’t thrilled with the rookie diving near his legs, and shoving ensued. Judon wasn’t sweating it afterwards though.

“He was trying to make a play. Great hustle from him. If you (saw) him, he sprinted from 30 yards away,” Judon said afterwards. “Cole is going to be a player for us, and we’ve got to see how he develops. Nobody was hurt and we all came back out on the field, so it wasn’t anything.”

A day later, Mac Jones was intercepted by Malcolm Butler, and Strange wrapped the cornerback up forcefully to ensure it wouldn’t go as a pick-six. Defenders didn’t like that and shoving and whistles followed once again. Strange’s playing style has been best described by his Farragut High School coach, Eddie Courtney.

“I can explain it this way: He plays to the echo of the whistle,” Courtney said. “It’s not cheap, that’s the way it should be played. He’s not going to help you up when he knocks you down, but he will shake your hand at the end of the game. That’s kind of the kid he’s always been.”

Thornton and Zappe both have much steeper climbs on the Patriots depth chart, and will have to battle in training camp to make the opening 53-man roster.

Story by Chris Mason,