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'Canadian Nice' Off The Field, Isaiah Adams Is Monster In Trenches

Third-round pick should be in the mix to start at guard

Rookie lineman Isaiah Adams goes through drills at a recent workout.
Rookie lineman Isaiah Adams goes through drills at a recent workout.

Isaiah Adams is like most Canadians. His first love was hockey, he's used to cold weather, and he -- as the stereotype goes -- is a nice person.

Just not on the football field.

"Off the field, I'm really polite, kind of laid back," the rookie guard said. "But on the field, pardon my language, it's time to kill people. That's the mission. That's the job that's required."

Mind you, the Cardinals third-round pick said that with a smile on his face. Still, how does somebody flip the switch when it comes to game time? Adams thinks back to all of the sacrifice that's been made.

Hockey is Canada's sport, and Adams was a defenseman on the ice in his early years. When it came to switching to football, a choice he said was "the best decision I've ever made in my life," it came with challenges.

Adams wasn't recruited to play college football in America, so he went to Wilfrid Laurier University, a Canadian college that only played three-down football. He ended up catching the attention of Garden City Community College in Kansas, where he spent two seasons before transferring to Illinois.

While in Champaign, he started every game he played. In 2022, he finished as an honorable mention All-Big 10 selection at left guard, and the following season, he earned the same honors for his play at right tackle.

It's on the interior where Adams said he's most comfortable playing. The guard position, on the left side of the line specifically, is an unknown for the Cardinals.

"The moment you walk in the door, first impressions are everything and I'm so competitive," Adams said. "I'm so hard on myself, so even if I'm not competing with someone else, I'm competing with who I was yesterday."

The rookie class arrived in Tempe last week for rookie minicamp and joined the full squad on Monday for the final week of Phase Two workouts. In this portion of the offseason program, there isn't much that an offensive lineman can do because they aren't lining up against a defense or wearing helmets.

While it's only been a few days and opportunity to showcase skills are limited, guard Will Hernandez has been excited about Adams' arrival.

"Right off the bat, he's a very nice guy and you can tell he's put in the work and that's why he's here," Hernandez said. "We know he's a high character guy and a work, so now all we got to do is put it on display."

Hernandez said that as long as Adams and rookie offensive tackle Christian Jones fulfill the most important rookie duty – keeping the snack drawer full – chemistry will grow.

Regardless of what snacks are provided in the room, an offensive lineman needs to have some spice to play the position, which is why Hernandez isn't surprised to hear the aforementioned acknowledgement from Adams.

"There's only a certain way to do this job and we talk about it all the time that football doesn't make up your personality, but it could work the other way around too," Hernandez said. "It's just the way we need to be to get the job done."

Adams' personality allows for him to be in the correct mental place come game day. His time on the ice as a defenseman helped him become a better athlete with his kick step and backwards movement.

And of course, each time Adams looks at the team in the huddle, a reminder why he plays the sport allows him to execute.

"All of the adversity, all of the sacrifice that I've had to make, and how much I love this game," Adams said. "Once it's time to lock in, walkthroughs, practice, meetings, it's just what I do. It's my love for the game. It's the rest to my mom, my family. They did a lot to put me in this game and it's just how much I love them."