First-round pick D.J. Humphries works at right tackle Friday as rookie minicamp began.
It's been more than a week since D.J. Humphries was chosen by the Cardinals No. 24 overall in the draft, and the idle time let his thoughts run wild. As rookie minicamp approached on Friday, the offensive tackle couldn't help wonder what he was in for on the first day of his NFL career.
"I expected it to be a whole other world," Humphries said.
While the location and the jersey were new, any concern dissipated once he started going through the drills.
"As you get settled down and all the jitters get out, it's just playing football," Humphries said. "It's just doing the same thing. It was awesome. I felt like I hadn't played football in years. I was just glad to be back on grass."
There's plenty of attention on Humphries, who is not only the team's top pick, but one making the transition from left to right tackle. It is his best shot at making the starting lineup -- Jared Veldheer is entrenched at left tackle – where he will battle incumbent Bobby Massie for the starting gig.
While the competition is sure to be chronicled closely, coach Bruce Arians isn't overly concerned with Humphries' development.
"In the perfect world, he'd back up this year and learn how to play in the NFL behind two quality players," Arians said. "There's no need for him to jump out there and start for us, but he has a great future."
Humphries wants to play immediately, and he was soaking in the individualized instruction from assistant offensive line coach Larry Zierlein on Friday. There will be a learning curve as Humphries adapts to both the new position and the NFL, and he appreciates all the help he can get.
"As soon as I turn around, we'll make eye contact and he'll tell me if I did it right, or he'll tell me high leg, or get out of your stance faster," Humphries said. "It worked perfectly. That's how I'm used to being coached. As soon as I get done with something, I need to know, 'Is that exactly how he wants it done or do I need to tweak something?'"
A CHANCE TO TURN HEADS
The rookie minicamp will extend through the weekend, and most of the tryout guys will head home without a contract offer from the
Cardinals. That doesn't mean it's impossible to make the cut.
Last year, wide receiver Kevin Ozier, running back Jalen Parmele, tackle Cory Brandon and cornerback Jimmy Legree were signed after the rookie tryout and Parmele played in the regular season. Legree is still with the team and was singled out by Arians for his performance on Friday.
The others would love to follow in his footsteps.
"The big thing for tryout guys is to show you can absorb the information and come right out and play," Arians said. "If you're trying out and making a lot of mistakes, it's going to be really hard for you. But if you can learn in a meeting and come out and play fast, then you're going to give yourself a chance to perform at a good level. That's your best shot at making it."
MOLDING THE CLAY
Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of snafus as players from all across the country tried to meld quickly on their first day together. Not only did that unfamiliarity hurt, but so too did the system switch for many who came from spread offenses in college.
"We had two kids who had never been in a huddle," Arians said. "We had two defensive linemen who had never heard a quarterback say a snap count, so they kept jumping offsides. It just amazes me sometimes what these guys get taught."
"It is (annoying) but it's part of it anymore," Arians added. "If I was a college coach, I wouldn't have them in a huddle either. Let somebody else coach them about that (expletive)."
Arians was asked if there's a benefit, since the Cardinals can more easily mold the players to their liking.
"If they can learn fast enough," Arians said. "If they won't be here to get molded, they'll still be flat clay."