Vikings' pick at No. 210: North Carolina State linebacker Audie Cole
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings dipped into their Senior Bowl roster again on Saturday, selecting North Carolina State middle linebacker Audie Cole with the first of their seventh-round draft picks (No. 210 overall).
Cole (6-foot-4 1/8, 246 pounds) was teammates with first-round pick Harrison Smith on the North team coached by Leslie Frazier and his staff in January in Mobile, Ala.
"They are a great staff and I really enjoyed my time there," Cole said. "At the time I didn't know this is where I was going to end up being at. I was just trying to soak everything in that they taught us and they wanted us to learn."
Cole has a large frame for a linebacker but runs relatively well, timed as low as 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in February.
Cole said as the rounds began to pass he started to think he might have to sign with a team as a free agent.
"I thought about it," Cole said. "I don't think you can help but think about everything else that can happen. ... I was told that I had one of the widest ranges (of where I might be drafted). Supposedly one team had me with a second-round grade and then others had me as a free agent. ... I really had no idea when it was going to happen. I'm just thankful that it did and I'm excited about where it's at."
In 51 games (38 starts) over four seasons with the Wolfpack, Cole had 276 tackles (147 solo, 32 for loss), 5½ sacks, an interception and two fumble recoveries.
He played the strong side before moving to middle linebacker as a senior in 2011, when he was a Butkus Award semifinalist and all-conference honorable mention.
Asked if that was a coaching or a need decision, Cole said: "Once we lost Nate Irving, who is on the Denver Broncos now, when he got drafted we had a hole at middle linebacker we needed to fill. (The coaching staff) wanted me there, wanted me to make the calls and be the one responsible for doing it and responsible for the defense. I gladly played it, I wanted to play middle linebacker. ... I wanted the responsibility and I enjoyed my time there."
Cole said he does not know where the Vikings will play him but he isn't concerned about it. If he makes the team, it likely will be because of his ability to play on special teams. Cole saw extensive time on special teams during his first three collegiate seasons before being limited on those units last year as he focused on playing middle linebacker.
• 40-yard dash: 4.76 seconds.
• 10-yard dash: 2.72 seconds.
• 20-yard dash: 1.68 seconds.
• 20-yard shuttle: 4.29 seconds.
• 3-cone drill: 6.96 seconds.
• Vertical jump: 35 inches.
• Broad jump: 9 feet, 6 inches.
• Bench press: 15 reps of 225 pounds.
• Arm length: 32¾ inches.
• Hand size: 10 inches.
• Wingspan: 78 1/8 inches.