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Waiver Wire Huge Part Of Cardinals' Week 1 Roster

Safety K'Von Wallace one of seven new players Cardinals add to roster

New safety Ke'Von Wallace at a practice this week.
New safety Ke'Von Wallace at a practice this week.

After being released by the Eagles last Tuesday, K'Von Wallace felt "damn near every emotion" over a 24-hour span.

"You go from sad, to confused, to okay, to what's next, to hell yeah, to excited, to ready to go, to now it's time to play football," Wallace said.

The Cardinals were awarded the waiver claim for Wallace and five others last Wednesday -- cornerback Starling Thomas V, tight end Elijah Higgins, and offensive linemen Trystan Colon, Ilm Manning and Keith Ismael. The following day, they added another offensive lineman in Carter O'Donnell.

Coach Jonathan Gannon said that some of the waiver wire pickups will need to be ready to play on Week 1. With the uncertainty surrounding the status of backup lineman Kelvin Beachum, that message could apply to the offensive linemen.

"They know their role right now," Gannon said. "We have to get them caught up to speed on how we do things and all that, but they're here for a reason. We feel comfortable with them."

Wallace, who played for Gannon last season in Philadelphia, there was comfort coming in, and his initial mood improved once a familiar face called.

"(Defensive coordinator) Nick (Rallis) called me first and when I saw the area code, I'm like 'This is an AZ area code,'" Wallace said. "Hold up, I know this voice and Nick said, 'You already know who this is,' and it's just pure excitement. It's nothing but love man, and I'm glad to be here and I'm ready to play some ball."

Growing up with guys like wide receiver Greg Dortch and cornerback Kei'Trel Clark, while also having played for Gannon and Rallis, has made the transition a smooth one for Wallace.

The excitement amongst the coaching staff is mutual.

"I know this guy is intelligent, loves football and plays the game with high motor and violence," Rallis said. "That's what we look for defensively, so I think he'll make a good impact on our defense."

Despite having played in Gannon's defense in Philadelphia, Rallis is the one calling the shots for the Cardinals. It presents some difficulty with picking up a new playbook.

"It's always a challenge to try and be in the head of the defensive coordinators," Wallace said. "Now I've got to get acclimated to what Nick calls and what he likes to do. I'm just trying to learn it and get the ball rolling."

The entire squad is in the process of learning what a Rallis regular season defense looks like. That includes Thomas, a rookie cornerback that the Cardinals picked up through the wire.

Rallis doesn't have as much familiarity with Thomas. Still, he recognizes the "huge upside" that the rookie cornerback brings to the defense.

"He's extremely smart and he's picking up on it fast," Rallis said. "The combination of high character, intelligent, and physical abilities. I'm excited to work with them going forward."

Besides Clark, with whom who he became friends with at the East-West Shrine Bowl Game, Thomas walked into the locker room last week not knowing anybody.

"It's like being a new kid in school," Thomas said. "Kei'Trel just told me to be ready to play and come in ready. Everybody is very young, and everybody is ready to win."

Images of the Cardinals practicing at the Dignity Health Sports Complex before the Week 1 regular season matchup against the Washington Commanders

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