Garrett Williams sees his teammates -- his fellow rookies -- practicing, and admittedly yearns to join them.
But the third-round pick is still rehabbing from ACL surgery, and that already gives him a mental test challenging him in the NFL.
"You feel like football season is around the corner, but you've got to stay patient," said the cornerback, who signed his four-year contract on Thursday. "I can't rush it. But obviously I can't wait to put the cleats and pads back on.
"The hard part is done. Now it's the fun part, strengthening things, I'm able to run. I feel like a football player again."
The signing of Williams means that the only unsigned draft pick now is second-round linebacker BJ Ojulari.
Being in the NFL is what Williams knew he would be doing at this time last year. He thought about leaving Syracuse for the 2022 draft but decided he had "left too many plays out there" and went into the 2022 season focusing on his game and making the professional leap, telling himself ahead of time it would be his final collegiate season.
"I felt like it was time to take that next step and even when I got hurt, nothing changed in my thought process," Williams said. "It sucks because you want to be out there, but you have to run your own race. I understand what my situation is."
Williams, who is wearing the No. 21 that All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson once donned, said he feels comfortable with the process the Cardinals have him in, even if he has to be a bystander for now.
"When you get hurt, you don't know what's going to happen," he said. "You hear good stories and bad stories. I just knew I had to make the most out of all the opportunities I'd get getting ready for the draft. On the rehab side not feeling sorry for yourself -- which is where I was when I got hurt -- it didn't feel fair at first. But once I got out of that and realized everything was still intact, everything was still in play for me to reach my goals, I snapped back to reality."
Neither the Cardinals or Williams are making predictions about when his return will happen, but Williams has said his goal is to be ready for training camp.
Even if it takes him longer, he knows his dream is waiting whenever he is on the grass again.
"I am seeing it as, I can come back from this and make my story," Williams said. "I see my life as a movie (and) make my movie that much cooler, that much better at the end."
CARDINALS SIGN COBBS
The Cardinals also added a body on the other side of the ball on Thursday, signing undrafted rookie Brian Cobbs to a contract. Cobbs appeared as a tryout player at the Jets rookie minicamp. The 6-foot-2 Cobbs had 76 catches for 923 yards and five touchdowns for Utah State in 2022.