When the Arizona Cardinals called Mason Cole’s name with the 97th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, you could see the new mold of Cardinals lineman being defined.
When you read reports on Andrew Norwell from his 2014 draft profile to Cole’s this offseason, you can see what the Cardinals are looking to implement up front:
Good versatility -- has played both tackle positions and can serve as an emergency tackle in a pinch.
Three-year starter in the Big Ten Conference
Offers versatility up and down the line with starts at center and tackle
Has started every game since his freshman year of high school totaling 104 total starts
While Norwell was more of a brawler and Cole a more athlete coming out, you see what Ray Brown wants in his offensive lineman: Versatile, successful, durable.
That gives him something to mold.
Cole is that first piece of clay for Brown to begin to shape.
He has the athletic talent and intelligence and something that Justin, Justis and I have talked about for a long time, he has been successful at left tackle in college. If you notice, many NFL teams draft left tackles on day two and three to fill-out their offensive line. Usually because they are already solid in a number of areas and the work they need is moving positions, rather than having an athletic or size deficit to overcome.
This is something that a number of good analyst noted on Cole:
UM LT true JR Mason Cole w/39th consecutive starts (26-LT + 13-C). Likely IOL in NFL, but good vert/45 set, climbing to 2nd lvl, & tough! pic.twitter.com/xhTQrH6Ueu— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) September 5, 2017
Cole’s work as a left tackle gives you an idea of what he could be inside. Except, Cole has already worked inside at UM, so he has film of both.
Mason Cole climbing to the mike is thing of beauty. Watch him roll his hips through the block. Leverage and lift. Battles to stay on it too pic.twitter.com/zqFVuJBFTg— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) June 14, 2017
Late night film study #OLine mason Cole will be a first round pick. Look at this second level block pic.twitter.com/QWdeoW298U— Kyle Lansky (@KyleLansky16) October 13, 2016
I’ve said, Cole’s work on film shows a player ready to step in and compete right away, whether it be at center, left guard or right tackle.
Cole was a bit of a surprise name, unless you are subscribed to the Rise Up, See Red podcast, but he’ll endear himself to fans early with his style of play.