Rashard Lawrence is only a rookie, and he wasn't even the first defensive lineman the Cardinals drafted in April.
But Lawrence, the four-time captain at national champion LSU, has certainly left an impression on his new team – and teammates – even in a training camp without games.
"He does stuff already you wouldn't expect a rookie to do," veteran defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said. "I asked (defensive line coach Brentson Buckner), 'How did he drop to the fourth round? This is the best D-lineman I've seen in a long time.'
"I know it's high praise for a rookie but just his mechanics and his techniques, it's already through the roof. The sky is the limit for him."
The Cards are young on the defensive line, counting on second-year man Zach Allen to combine with Phillips and fellow veteran Corey Peters to lead the group. Beyond that, there is Lawrence and the fourth-round pick before him, Leki Fotu, along with holdovers Jonathan Bullard, Michael Dogbe and Miles Brown.
But it is Lawrence who has been earning the praise, like when coach Kliff Kingsbury mentioned his name on a recent episode of Cards Camp Central when asked if there was a player who had caught his eye.
"He has really stepped in and has been competitive from day one," Kingsbury said. "I'm really impressed with his tenacity, day in and day out."
While Fotu has been described as "raw," Lawrence has shown he has polish of a player who spent four years in an SEC program.
What's more, he has a personality that's already been embraced.
"He has a workman mentality," Buckner said. "When the switch goes on in football practice, you see a totally different guy. The urgency goes up, he's flying to the ball, he's hustling. He's one of those guys when the coach says, 'Work so hard you're about to pass out.' That's Rashard. But as soon as the horn sounds and we're done and back at the hotel, it's slow motion. Summer breeze, lemonade tea, he's not burning a whole bunch of calories.
"But he's stepped in like he's a five-year veteran already."
NOT THAT JORDAN HICKS
LinebackerJordan Hicks has been mistaken for Major League Baseball pitcher Jordan Hicks – especially now that both play professionally for the Cardinals.
But no time was it more apparent than earlier this summer, when baseball's Hicks decided to opt out of his season because of COVID-19 concerns.
"I don't know him, but it happens quite a bit," the Arizona Cardinals' Hicks said. "There was some talk about him opting out of his season, and I got hit up so much about, 'Jordan, I heard you were opting out?' No I'm not. I'm playing this year, I'm fine.
"It happens quite a bit. More than you know."
FITZ STILL SITS OUT
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was not participating in practice during the open portion for a third straight day. Coach Kliff Kingsbury did not speak to the media Wednesday and Fitzgerald's reason for sitting is unknown.
Running back Kenyan Drake (unknown injury) and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) were not present during the open part of practice either.