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Tense Times For Undrafted Rookies As Cutdown Day Looms

Four undrafted players competing to make 53-man roster on Saturday

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver JoJo Ward during training camp on September 1, 2020.
WR JoJo Ward is one of four undrafted rookies still competing for a roster spot.

The Cardinals wrapped up their final practice of training camp Thursday afternoon, which was the last chance for the four undrafted rookies on the roster to make an impression before Saturday's cuts.

Trent Sherfield has been in those shoes.

Two training camps ago, the Cardinals' wide receiver remembered the nervous energy that jolted through his body before latching on with the Cardinals.

"It's pretty stressful, honestly," Sherfield said. "People are fighting for their livelihoods."

Sherfield grabbed one of the final spots on the roster in 2018, and a strong showing in the preseason helped solidify his worth.

The four undrafted rookies– wide receiver JoJo Ward, cornerback Jace Whittaker, outside linebacker Reggie Walker and running back Jonathan Ward – didn't have the luxury of exhibition games, nor a chance to make an impression in the offseason, due to COVID-19.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury has said multiple times that the young guys were at a disadvantage this year because there wasn't as much time to evaluate them.

The Cardinals have regularly kept at least one undrafted rookie on the 53-man roster on cutdown day, but that could be in peril this season.

Outside linebacker Dennis Gardeck, who made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2018, said the most important thing is for his young teammates to keep an even keel as the tryout winds down.

"My advice has always kind of been the same: Don't ride the roller coaster," Gardeck said. "Don't be super high and super low. You've got to stay able to maintain your own game and own focus. I think that's the best advice you can give anybody – including myself – in that situation. It's a stressful time for all of us."

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