The road to the NFL is always hard, and the 2021 draft class had the added difficulty of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic last season.
The group persevered, and three of the picks can now officially say they are NFL players.
Cornerback Marco Wilson, safety James Wiggins and center Michal Menet inked their four-year rookie contracts with Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill on Thursday.
"There was a lot of pressure with everything being thrown at the whole world," Wilson said. "It's a relief to sign my contract, and I'm just ready to play some football now."
The trio was chosen on Day 3 and will look to make a quick impression this offseason. Wilson has the most likely path to become a significant contributor, as the fourth-rounder could compete for playing time at cornerback if he impresses the coaching staff early on.
"It's been exciting to get to know the coaches, get to know the defense, get to see the guys, just get accustomed to how it is around here," Wilson said.
Wiggins, a seventh-round pick, may need to make the team from a special teams perspective before getting a chance on defense.
Menet was the Cardinals’ final draft pick and is also hoping to land on the 53-man roster. The three-year starter at Penn State will aim to acclimate quickly and make a run for one of the backup interior offensive line spots.
The draft picks left to be signed are first-round linebacker Zaven Collins, second-round wideout Rondale Moore, sixth-round outside linebacker Victor Dimukeje and sixth-round cornerback Tay Gowan. With the rookie slotting system in place, it usually doesn't take long to get the full class under contract.
Images from Saturday's rookie minicamp practice