You may be saying yourself right now, “who?”
Cole Madison was a 5th round pick last year for the Packers, an offensive linemen from Washington St. He mainly played at RT for the Cougars but after getting drafted, it was expected that Madison would compete for a starting guard position but he never showed up to camp, or the team during all of last season and those positions were filled by guys Byron Bell, Justin McCray, and Lucas Patrick.
The Packers signed OL Billy Turner from the Broncos who will probably fill that RG spot next to Bulaga and serve as his backup. That leaves Madison a great chance to fill that LG spot. Even with Madison coming back, I still fully expect the Packers to draft a OL with one of their first three picks (12, 30, 44).
So first, why is this important? Whether he starts or not, Madison is a young player that will provide depth for the Packers, and hopefully quality depth at that.
Secondly, why was Madison absent for all of last year? It had nothing to do with injuries or a contract issue. I actually don’t think he’s publicly come out and said why or why not he decided to skip his rookie season. It’s been reported or speculated that it all had to do with the suicide of his former teammate and good friend Tyler Hilinski.
Hilinski committed suicide on January 16th, 2018. Obiviously, it is a very sad story and you can read more about Tyler here in a great article from Sports Illustrated.
Madison seemingly needed a year to decide if football was the right life choice for him after seeing what happened to one of his best friends. It looks as though Madison has decided that football is going to be apart of his life, which is good for the Packers.
Look for Madison to compete for a starting G position, and also backup to Bryan Bulaga. If you’re a football junky, you can check out the video below of him against Washington (he’s playing RT, #61).