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Dylan Cole, ILB

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  • Dylan Cole, ILB



    Texans' undrafted LB Dylan Cole relieved to make roster

    By Aaron Wilson
    Dylan Cole capitalized on every chance he got to soak up knowledge from veteran linebackers Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney and his coaches.

    Between his inquisitive nature and aggressive, instinctive play, the undrafted rookie inside linebacker from Missouri State made the Texans' initial 53-man roster.

    "It's just kind of setting in, honestly," Cole said Saturday. "I can't say I didn't expect it, but I'm definitely relieved at this point. The weekend isn't over. We've got a team meeting Monday. If I'm in that meeting Monday, I'll feel good about it."

    When the Texans signed Cole in the spring, the former Football Championship Subdivision All-American was given $27,000 in guaranteed money as part of his $1.665 million contract. That included a $12,000 signing bonus and the Texans guaranteeing $15,000 of his base salary.

    Cole was regarded as the prize of the Texans' undrafted free agent class. He made the team based on his special-teams prowess and defensive skills.

    "I will continue to work hard and earn my spot on the team," Cole said. "I told myself when I got here that I need to find a niche. Special teams is the niche that I found.

    "I'm going to keep working with that and make sure that I'm the best special-teamer I can be and wherever they need me on defense."

    Cole credited Cushing, McKinney, defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel and linebackers coach Bobby King for providing him with excellent advice and tips.

    "They've been through it," Cole said. "They've taught me a lot about how to be a professional, what to expect. I thought I was football savvy. When I got here, it really humbled me as far as understanding what I need to do as an NFL player and how to go out about your business every day. Vrabel is one of the smartest football coaches I've ever been around. I've got a lot of good resources."

    Cole was named the top linebacker in the nation among Football Championship Subdivision schools by athletic directors. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award given to the nation's top FCS defensive player, recording 152 tackles and was named to six different All-American teams. He wasn't invited to the NFL scouting combine, but has run the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds with a 39-inch vertical leap and has bench pressed 225 pounds 32 times.

    "Not everybody is perfect, they're human beings," Cole said of not being drafted. "I got my opportunity and took advantage of it. Now, I've got a spot and will keep working hard."


    Dylan COLE

    MISSOURI ST. LB
    • 6'1"HEIGHT
    • 240LBS.WEIGHT
    OVERVIEW

    A 2,000-yard rusher and All-Missouri pick as a high school senior (along with 102 tackles), Cole stayed in-state to play for the Bears. He was the team’s Defensive Scout Player of the Year in 2012, then earned Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team notice as the starting SAM linebacker (71 tackles, six for loss). Cole increased his production for MSU as a sophomore, garnering honorable mention all-conference honors (92 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, six pass break-ups) but took his game to the next level in 2015 at WILL linebacker. He ranked third in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) with 13.8 tackles per game (152 total, 12 for loss) and finished as a first-team All-MVFC pick. The leading tackler in the FCS as a senior (12.9/game, 142 total, eight for loss, three forced fumbles), Cole was named a first-team Associated Press All-American. He again made plays in coverage, as well, intercepting two passes to tie for the team lead.

    STRENGTHS

    Built like a pro wrestler with muscles on top of muscles. Looks physical and plays physical. Forceful player who attacks blocks and tackles opportunities with the same aggression. Not a consistently static target on second level and is able to slip blocks when needed. Freak show pro day results including 32 bench reps, 39-inch vertical leap and a strong 40-yard dash. Instinctive and aware. Reads keys and flows to ball ahead of blockers. Scrapes with good quickness and squared pads. When attacking downhill, careful not to commit to a gap too early and get caught in the trash. Flashes some quick-start burst to chase runners to the sideline and crossing routes that appear in his area.

    WEAKNESSES

    Straight-line player with tightly bundled hips. Will struggle to redirect his weight quickly in space. Extremely pigeon-toed. Rarely low man when attacking running backs. Needs to play with better bend to become a leverage tackler rather than a running back catcher in the hole. Lateral agility is below desired level for an inside linebacker. Average recovery athleticism when he gets behind. May need to come off the field on passing downs.

    DRAFT PROJECTION

    Round 5

    BOTTOM LINE

    Cole's pro day workout will force teams to scramble back to the tape to see if the play matches up to the explosive numbers. He has some flexibility issues because of how tightly bound his frame is, but he flashes explosive get-off off the snap and he's got above average vision and anticipation that helps him take accurate paths to the football. Cole could be a third day pick and early special teams contributor who can play either inside or outside in a 4-3. -Lance Zierlein
    Cole completed 32 reps on the 225-pound bench press and posted a 39-inch vertical during the indoor skills testing. Both of those metrics would have been tops among linebackers at the 2017 NFL Combine, which recently took place in Indianapolis.

    "I did what I needed to do today to turn some heads and get noticed," said Cole who led the nation in tackles as a senior with 12.91 per game. "I'm enjoying this. This is something I've wanted to do my entire life, and it's something I want to do for a long time."

    A consensus FCS All-American in 2016, Cole also turned in a 10-foot, 5-inch broad jump and was clocked at 4.52 in the 40-yard dash.
    Last edited by H2O4me; 2 weeks ago.
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