To this point you can’t ask for much more from General Manager Brian Gutekunst. After addressing defensive needs in the first three rounds and taking a wide receiver in the 4th round, the Packers selected offensive tackle Cole Madison out of Washington State with the first pick of the 5th round. As with pretty much all Day 3 picks, I’m sure the reaction from most of us was pretty similar, “who’s that?” If you echoed that sentiment, you’ve come to the right place.
Madison looks the part of an NFL tackle, standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 308 pounds. He’s a quality pass protector and started all 13 games for the Cougars in 2017. He’s shown to be a capable player in a quick paced, pass first offense. He’s quick out of his stance and mirrors defenders well. Great technique, hand placement, and form, play in and play out.
The knock on Madison from scouts across the board was his lack of functional strength. He struggled in the run game against stronger defenders, getting pushed around in compact spaces. He tends to lose positioning battles in the run game, where his height can work against him and allow defenders to get underneath him and move him around.
Fit on the Packers
When it comes to late round players, it’s hard to get a better fit for the Packers than Madison. We needed tackle help, he’s a tackle. We play a quick paced pass first system, he’s a quick paced pass first blocker. The Packers have long had success with Day 3 lineman, and Madison could be another in the long line of successful players (he’s got the long, Sampson-like hair of David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton, too). It’s difficult to project how a day three lineman will pan out, but Madison has the look of a future starter for the Packers who could potentially fill in for Brian Bulaga after the veteran tackle eventually steps down. Given a few year to build up his strength in the NFL and Madison could be a well rounded player for years to come. It’s far easier to build strength as an NFL lineman than it is to learn the ins and outs of technique and how to play the right way.
It’s no surprise that the Packers decided to address the tackle spot after losing the top four players at the position in the beginning of the 2017 season. Madison is a shoe in to be a backup for the Packers and may get to see some spot starts if injuries strike the position once again. He may not be a flashy pick, but he’s a quality pick in the fifth round. Cole Madison, welcome to Green Bay.