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Cardinals Sign Shaq Riddick, J.J. Nelson

Fifth-round picks ink four-year contracts with team


Linebacker Shaq Riddick (right) shakes the hand of team president Michael Bidwill after signing his contract

Two Cardinals draft picks are officially in the fold.

Fifth-round picks Shaq Riddick and J.J. Nelson signed four-year contracts with the team on Tuesday and can now turn their focus to carving out a role on the roster. They are the first players from the draft class to sign.

"It's a blessing," said Riddick, a linebacker out of

West Virginia. "It just makes me want to get ready to work. I'm ready to get to work now. This is another step I'm proud of even having the chance to get to."

The slotted pay structure of rookie contracts made it an easy process, with very ittle haggling needed from either side.

Nelson and Riddick participated in rookie minicamp over the weekend and have now joined the rest of the team for Phase II work each morning.

"Rookie minicamp was coming in and getting your feet wet, learning the speed of the NFL and getting the playbook down," said Nelson, a wideout from Alabama-Birmingham. "Now we're with the veterans. Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown -- just watching those guys to see how they practice and run through the offense, how they study and learn in the meeting room, it's helping me out a lot."

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