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ESPN writer picks Cardinals’ Mason Cole for his All-Rookie Team

(AP Photo/Matt York)

After finishing 2018 with a disappointing 3-13 record, the Arizona Cardinals found a bright spot in their future with the outstanding play of center Mason Cole.

ESPN Senior Writer Jeff Legwold included the 22-year-old Cole in his picks for the NFL All-Rookie Team.

The Cardinals selected the Michigan lineman with the 97th overall pick in last year’s draft. In his first professional season, Cole was the only player on the team to play on every offensive or defensive snap. By doing that, Cole provided the Cardinals with a much-needed constant in an ever-changing carousel of players.

“The Cardinals struggled in most facets of the offense, but this job comes with a high degree of difficulty for a rookie, and few first-year players got heaved into the deep end the way Cole did. A 51-game starter at Michigan, he showed the ability to adjust, fix mistakes on the fly and improve with each passing week.”

Dating back to his time at East Lake High School in Florida, Cole has made 120 consecutive starts on the front line. In four seasons at Michigan, Cole’s 51 consecutive starts set a school record for an offensive lineman.

Even with his success this season, it was not the Cardinals’ plan to have Cole as the starter by the time Week 1 rolled around. Cole took over the starting job in training camp after projected starting center A.Q. Shipley tore his ACL.

Throughout the 2018 season, the Cardinals lost every original starting lineman to injury. Already short-handed, the line was tied for fifth in the league in sacks-allowed with 52.

If Cole were to beat out Shipley for the starting job next season, his ability to stay on the field should not be something the Cardinals will need to worry about.

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