It’s not everyday that you read about wide receivers translating to the offensive line, especially after reaching the college level. For Cole Madison, his story is exactly that. Coming out of Kennedy Catholic High School, Madison was a tight end and was limited with college offers. He had an offer from Idaho but ultimately chose Washington State. He loved the campus, the coaches and the general feel that Washington State provided. This put Madison in a unique position. He committed as an athlete at 6’5″ and 240 pounds. Once on campus, he was quickly working with wide receivers. Despite having rare athletic ability for a player of his size, he switched to offensive line and has stayed there ever since.
After getting redshirted during his freshman year, Madison earned the starting right tackle role the following season. Since that time, he’s made 39 straight starts and played in 47 games for the Cougars. During the 2017 season, Madison helped the Cougars maintain a quick passing attack of 6.69 yards per attempt (YPA) for 366.8 yards per game (YPG). Their pass-heavy offense is clear in the statistical column, but what isn’t clear is how they don’t run the ball effectively. The Cougars ran the ball 303 times for only 884 yards. Their 68 yards rushing per game is ranked second-worst in the country.
That rushing attack doesn’t fall on the shoulders of Cole Madison. For the Cougars, they’re a pass-first offense. They had over 700 pass attempts on the year, which was the most in the country. Translating to the league as a pass blocker shouldn’t be difficult for the Senior Bowl invitee, but let’s dive into what he struggles with and what he excels with. His scouting report:
- Consistent wide base, plays below pad level and excels laterally
- Average run blocker who chips off and excels at reaching the second level
- Established pass blocker who handles a variety of pass rush moves (especially spin moves; haven’t seen him lose against it)
- Anchors and holds ground vs. power
- Operates well in space and anticipates the pass rush well
On the play above, you’ll see Cole Madison, the right tackle (#61), handle the pass rush well. He anticipates the rush and shifts laterally from right to left. This doesn’t force him to give up any ground for the edge rusher to pressure the quarterback. However, his hand placement is too far outside and he initially sets too high, but he resets well and prevents any kind of a pass rush.
- Slow kick step that leads him to play flat-footed
- Hand placement is far too inconsistent
- Rarely see him lock out on his key
- Lacks a great push on the point-of-attack (POA)
By the Numbers:
Games Watched: Four (Stanford, Washington, Utah, Oregon)
Weight: 314 lbs.
Class: Senior (RS)
- 2016 All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention
- 2017 All-Pac 12 2nd team
- Allowed only 2 sacks in 648 snaps in 2016
- Criminal Justice major
- Accepted Senior Bowl invitation
WSU T Cole Madison is the nation's highest graded returning tackle. pic.twitter.com/jzWZmbfuHW
— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 6, 2017
On the play above, you’ll see Madison (#61) chip off the defensive end and approach the second level with ease. Operating well in space, he locks his hands up inside on a linebacker, turns him, and drives him five yards downfield.
Trying to wrap my head around this offensive tackle class is difficult. Connor Williams is my favorite offensive tackle, but he’s got some injury concerns. Orlando Brown is a mauler, but I wonder how he’ll be athletically at the next level. Mike McGlinchey isn’t great, but he’s not terrible. He excels as a run blocker and should get better as a pass blocker. As for Cole Madison, he isn’t a left tackle. He’s only played right tackle and should only operate as a right tackle at the next level.
Certainly, he’ll get consideration as a versatile offensive lineman who can slide inside. For any coach, they’ll know to keep that in their back pocket. Madison is the type of prospect who has clean tape, but it’s dry. He’s not overly aggressive and doesn’t display a high motor. However, he’s a technician and should excel in Mobile, Alabama during the week of the Senior Bowl. I have no issue with saying that he should be a late day two selection. However, with the way the NFL Draft works, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up a day three selection. His performance at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine will undoubtedly help determine where he lands.