Cardinals rookie Haason Reddick is set to contribute immediately, unlike the team's last two first-rounders.
Money linebacker Deone Bucannon made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2014, registering five tackles in the Cardinals' season-opening win over the Chargers.
Three years later, his absence has paved the way for Haason Reddick to become the next first-round pick to contribute in Week 1. Bucannon (ankle) worked with a trainer on the side during the open portion of Monday's practice and seems questionable for Sunday's regular season opener against the Lions. If he does play, it may be in a limited role after missing several months of offseason work.
Coach Bruce Arians said Reddick, who played defensive end in college, will start in Bucannon's spot in some packages against Detroit. The Cardinals' previous two first-round picks, tackle D.J. Humphries and defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, played little or not at all as rookies.
"I'm excited, man," Reddick said. "Camp was long. This whole preseason journey has been long. All of this has been worth it. I'm just excited to finally get out there with live bullets and see how I do, see how I hold up."
Reddick had some issues diagnosing plays on the fly this preseason, but the presence of veteran Karlos Dansby next to him will be a big help. Arians said he's seen nice progress from Reddick, who is an athletic marvel trying to catch up mentally.
"I love where he's at," Arians said. "He's growing every single day."
Reddick is aware that even high draft picks aren't guaranteed to play for the Cardinals, and isn't taking the opportunity lightly.
"It's big, but it's a challenge," Reddick said. "I'm about to start my first game my rookie year. I'm going to go out there and try to conquer that challenge. I'm going to go out there and try to be the guy the team needs me to be."
NKEMDICHE IFFY FOR OPENER
Nkemdiche (calf) was rehabilitating with Bucannon on the outside field while his teammates were in the bubble during the open portion on Monday. Nkemdiche said he is getting better but said "we'll see" when asked about his availability against Detroit.
"It feels good," Nkemdiche said. "Now it's between me and the coaches and the staff in there. I'm just trying to keep going forward, get healthier, and take it day by day."
Guard Mike Iupati (triceps) looked set to practice, which is a good sign. Wide receiver John Brown (quad) may not be fully healthy quite yet but will play.
"I'm feeling good enough," Brown said.
The first official injury report isn't released until Wednesday.
CAPTAINS NAMED FOR 2017
Arians announced the team captains for the season. Quarterback Carson Palmer, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, defensive tackle Frostee Rucker, cornerback Patrick Peterson and kicker Phil Dawson were given the nods.
Dawson was chosen as a special teams caption despite only signing in March as a free agent.
"It means the world to me," Dawson said. "I've tried my whole career to be a football guy and not a kicker. When your teammates vote you captain, given the amount of respect I have for the guys in this room and the love I have for this game, that means a great deal to me."
T.J. LOGAN PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE
The Cardinals had to keep rookie running back T.J. Logan (wrist) part of the finalized 53-man roster so he would be eligible to return this season. They moved him to injured reserve on Monday since is he expected to be out until midseason.
Logan may or may not be activated, depending what other injuries pop up in the coming weeks. The move leaves the Cardinals with an open spot on the roster.
The team signed outside linebackers Obum Gwacham and Bryson Albright to round out the 10-man practice squad.
Images from the Cardinals' work on Labor Day