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Cole Toner Is Trying to Follow in One Arizona Cardinals Footsteps

The Cardinals fifth round pick is patterning his game after a veteran offensive lineman on the team now.

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Harvard prepares you for a lot of things and for Cole Toner, Harvard helped prepare him to understand that his standing on an NFL roster is based on his versatility. As the fifth round pick told Doug and Wolf of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, "the thing is you've got to be versatile and play all positions up front if you want to be able to make a team and play here."

That mentality will serve Toner well over the next several months though, as he prepares to tackle the NFL. Toner has been spending most of his time at guard after working at tackle while at Harvard, and to me that says the team has a role in mind for him early.

Toner will be the next Earl Watford, "My objective is to be guard/tackle for sure, and then learn center as well." The Cardinals former fourth round pick Watford has played at both tackle and guard positions while in the NFL, and his versatility not only keeps him on the roster, but makes him an integral part of the depth chart. What Steve Keim and company has done is identified that skillset and made it important to recreate it, without having to pay the veteran tax on it.

While I've long advocated Earl Watford as a good enough player to start, if the Cardinals do not feel that way, which they have not so far in his career, then 2016 could be his last season with the team, as he may look to finally to get the opportunity to start.

If the Arizona Cardinals think he can start, will than they already have his replacement in the wings as well. That is what Cole Toner is here for. It is to take over Earl Watford's role of being a versatile option along the offensive line, whether that is because Earl moves on or gets promoted. Hopefully he has the same effectiveness.