News & Analysis

Mason Cole to take over for injured A.Q. Shipley in Arizona

Jul 28, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals center Mason Cole (64) and offensive tackle Andre Smith (71) and offensive guard Greg Pyke (68) look on during training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks announced Monday that center A.Q. Shipley tore his ACL during a training camp practice this weekend, and he will miss the entire 2018 season.

The former seventh-round pick started every game over the last two seasons in Arizona. His 61.3 offensive grade in 2017 was 28th  among centers, but his 77.9 pass-blocking grade ranked 13th.

Taking Shipley’s place will be rookie third-round pick Mason Cole, who spent most of his college career as a left tackle at Michigan.

His only experience at center came during the 2016 season. His 83.7 grade was tied for 19th at the position, and he also ranked in the Top 20 in run blocking.

Where Cole struggled as a center was in pass protection. He didn’t allow a sack that season, but he gave up four hits and 12 hurries, giving him a pass-blocking efficiency of 96.9 that was tied for 99th out of 130 eligible centers.

That’s a contrast in style to Shipley, who has consistently graded out as a better pass-blocker than run-blocker over his career.

Cole was our sixth-ranked center in the PFF Draft Guide, despite playing his senior season back at left tackle. His grades improved steadily each year in college, and the Cardinals will be looking for that growth to continue in the NFL.

Arizona’s offensive line as a unit finished 31st in the NFL last season in pass-blocking efficiency, and they ranked 27th in our preseason offensive line rankings. The Cardinals already have new starters taking over this year with Justin Pugh at right guard and Andre Smith at right tackle, and now Cole will be tasked with bringing the group together from the middle.

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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