ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Cardinals rookie OL Mason Cole hopes luck remains on his side

May 10, 2018, 5:38 PM | Updated: 7:11 pm
Michigan offensive lineman Mason Cole runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianap...
Michigan offensive lineman Mason Cole runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Yes, ability matters, but it’s availability that can set a player apart and ensure long-term success in the NFL. Teams want players they can count on, and for the past eight seasons, offensive lineman Mason Cole has been that player.

Whether in high school or in college, Cole never missed a start. In fact, he hardly missed a practice.

“I missed three (straight) practices because I was sick,” Cole said Thursday.

Those three practices came during Cole’s junior year at Michigan. Other than that, he had perfect attendance; a total of 104 consecutive starts combined between high school and college.

The Arizona Cardinals hope that streak continues. Four of their five projected starting offensive linemen finished last season on injured reserve.

“Honestly, I think a big part of it is luck,” Cole said. “There’s a lot of luck that plays into it, and I’ve just been lucky enough not to gotten rolled up on the wrong way.”

Cole, who the Cardinals drafted in the third round with the 97th overall pick, also credited taking care of his body, making sure to visit the training room before little issues become big issues and being a regular in the weight room.

Then there’s the message Cole constantly heard from both his parents and grandparents growing up in Tarpon, FL.

“They’ve always preached toughness and finishing the job, finishing what you started,” he said. “There’s a difference between being hurt and having pain, and for me that was the biggest thing is am I in pain or am I actually hurt and for me, I was never actually hurt. You can push through pain and that was always my goal.”

Cole and the other Cardinals rookies—a total of 30 drafted and undrafted players—reported to work on Thursday. Physicals needed to be passed, and then the players were outfitted with equipment, from head to toe.

A three-day rookie mini-camp begins Friday.

“My biggest goal is to come out here and prove to those guys (the coaches) that I can make an impact on this team and help this team win,” Cole said.

Aside from his durability, Cole has two other factors working in his favor to do just that: 1) versatility and 2) the pro style offense he played in college.

At Michigan, Cole started 25 consecutive games at left tackle before switching to center in 2016. He started all 13 games at center before switching back to left tackle for his senior season, when he started all 13 games.

Cole earned All-Big Ten honors and was on the Outland Trophy watch list at both positions.

“For me, it was always—mentality-wise—it was always doing what was best for the team. When they moved me to center, it was always to get the best five offensive linemen on the field. So I never had a problem with it because I knew if I was going to switch positions that was going to make the whole group better,” he said.

“In terms of the challenges of switching positions, I don’t think it’s as challenging as many people think. If you know your stuff inside and out and you know the techniques, you can adjust pretty quickly.”

Cole added he had no preferred position nor had the Cardinals mentioned a specific position, at least not yet.

The Cardinals don’t have an immediate opening along the offensive line, however both center A.Q. Shipley and left guard Mike Iupati will be unrestricted free agents at the end of this season.

Cole acknowledged the learning curve he faces moving to the NFL. He cited the playbook as well as the physicality and speed of the game as the biggest hurdles in his way.

At the same time, Cole believes his time at Michigan and specifically playing for head coach Jim Harbaugh, someone who had a 14-year NFL career, has put him in the best possible position to be a successful pro player.

“The way he runs his program, the way we practiced, the way he runs camp, the hours we spend in meeting rooms, all that stuff off the field really helps you prepare for what’s coming at the next level,” Cole said. “In terms of what we did, I don’t think there’s a better place in college football to play college football at that will prepare you for the next level like Michigan and Coach Harbaugh.”

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

An Arizona Cardinals helmet on the grass during Arizona Cardinals training camp on July 30, 2021 at...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals sign 6 players to roster following tryouts at rookie minicamp

The Arizona Cardinals signed and released six players following tryouts at rookie minicamp, the team announced Monday.
15 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals' Keaontay Ingram (30) runs drills at the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Fri...
Wills Rice

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram excited to prove himself on the field

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram said he is ready to prove that the running back position is still the engine of the team.
2 days ago
Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Houston Texan...
Wills Rice

PFF’s Cole: Cardinals’ James Conner is a fantasy football post-draft winner

The Cardinals added to their offensive arsenal in the 2022 NFL Draft, but PFF thinks RB James Conner came out as the fantasy football winner.
2 days ago
San Diego State Aztecs defensive linemen Cameron Thomas (99) celebrates a sack during a college foo...
Wills Rice

Cardinals rookie Cameron Thomas models his game after J.J. Watt

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Cameron Thomas is excited to work with his role model J.J. Watt during his rookie campaign.
2 days ago
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: Nick Grant #1 of the Virginia Cavaliers defends a pass intended...
Wills Rice

Report: Cardinals sign DB Nick Grant to deal after rookie mini-camp

The Cardinals have reportedly signed cornerback Nick Grant to a deal after rookie mini-camp, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
2 days ago
Colorado State Rams tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates his third quarter touchdown against Wyom...
Sam Graveline

Landing with Cardinals a ‘dream come true’ for rookie TE Trey McBride

For Cardinals rookie tight end Trey McBride, he couldn't be more jacked up to land in the Valley and learn from those in his position room.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals rookie OL Mason Cole hopes luck remains on his side