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Quarterback The Path For Trevor Knight

Posted May 13, 2017

Notes: Dorian Johnson's video game dream becomes reality; Local connections

Cardinals undrafted free agent addition Trevor Knight throws a pass during rookie minicamp on Friday.

Trevor Knight has a lot of traits you can’t teach, most notably a strong arm and great athleticism for a quarterback.

The Cardinals are hoping improved accuracy is one thing that can be taught.

The former Oklahoma and Texas A&M signal-caller holds some intrigue within a crowded quarterback room for the Cardinals, but to win a job he must prove he can regularly deliver the ball to his skill guys.

Knight tested extremely well with his movement skills at the NFL Scouting combine, but a 55.5 percent completion rate in college left him undrafted. With such tantalizing athleticism, many thought Knight should try switching positions for a better chance at making a roster, but he said it didn’t cross his mind.

“From the beginning I was confident that I could play quarterback in this league,” Knight said. “I had a pretty crazy college career. A lot of ups, a lot of downs. This last year made me feel confident I could play at a high level.”

Coach Bruce Arians was happy with the play of Knight on the first day of rookie minicamp on Friday, noting the shoulder injury that bothered him during his final college season was healed. While Knight did have some throws sail, there were times when his passes zipped nicely to receivers, and other instances when he dashed quickly out of a collapsing pocket.

“His arm is healthy,” Arians said. “He threw one about 55 yards down there today. The athleticism he brings to the position he showed already today.”

The Cardinals signed veteran quarterback Blaine Gabbert earlier this week, and he joins Knight, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton and Zac Dysert at the position. With all of those players ahead of him, Knight could feel nervous when taking a look at the depth chart, but at this point he’s not paying much attention.

“If you’re always looking over your shoulder and worried about a QB battle, you’re not going to play as well as you want to,” Knight said. “You’ve got to worry about yourself. … As far as yourself goes, and your own future, you’ve got to put your head down and get to work.”

FROM VIDEO GAME TO REALITY FOR DORIAN JOHNSON

When Dorian Johnson casually mentioned earlier this week that he rooted for the Cardinals growing up, the local media was stumped. The team’s fourth-round pick is from Belle Vernon, Penn., played collegiately at Pitt and had never set foot in Arizona before Thursday.

Why, a reporter asked, did you like a team all the way across the country?

Two reasons, the guard said. The first was the longtime presence here of Larry Fitzgerald, one of the most decorated players in Pitt history. The other was because of a video game.

“I used to be really heavy into playing Madden,” Johnson said. “I think it was Madden ’06. The team that I’d always end up with in my superstar career mode was the Cardinals. I did the best with them.”

How good?

“I think I won the Super Bowl like seven times,” Johnson said.

A liver condition dropped Johnson to fourth round of the draft, as teams were concerned about the medicals of a player who had the talent of a second day selection. Johnson sees the bright side, as it gave him the opportunity to join Fitzgerald and hopefully make a push for that eighth Super Bowl.

“I firmly believe in the fact that everything happens for a reason,” Johnson said.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS WITH THE CARDINALS

Arizona State only had one player drafted – kicker Zane Gonzalez to the Browns in the seventh round – but the Cardinals did bring a Sun Devil into the fold as an undrafted free agent.

Cornerback Gump Hayes signed with the team after the draft and hopes to make a positive impression. He has speed, but has some work to do after transitioning from running back to defense in the middle of his college career.

Hayes believes the close proximity between Arizona State and the Cardinals helped him get looked at closely by the coaching staff.

“That definitely helped me a lot,” Hayes said. “When I got that call that they wanted me to come work out, it was a blessing. I definitely took advantage of it.”

Former Northern Arizona defensive tackle Peli Anau is another local player working with the team this week. He is tryout guy hoping to get signed after rookie camp.

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