TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the Arizona Cardinals’ minicamp starting Friday afternoon, the newbies get a chance to work with the coaches on their own without the intimidation of the veterans lingering overhead. The three practices will give them a chance to put a resume on tape as the roster will begin churning over in the next few days. Players like safety Deone Bucannon and wide receiver John Brown will be facing competition this weekend that won’t ever see a minute of NFL action. Then again, there may be a needle in a haystack.
Here are five things to know about Cardinals rookie camp:
This is the type of individualized work that Logan Thomas needs. After spending the past three days getting 25 percent of the snaps on the second practice field, Thomas will be the focus of the rookie camp, which means Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, assistant head coach Tom Moore and quarterbacks coach Freddy Kitchens will have their eyes on Thomas. The coaching staff will get their first up-close look at how much Thomas has improved during the offseason and where specifically he needs to grow.
Don’t expect tight end Troy Niklas to participate. Like I wrote about earlier this week, Niklas, the Cardinals’ second-round pick out of Notre Dame, is still recovering from hernia surgery he had after the NFL combine. He’s expected back, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said, for the second minicamp, which will take place in June.
A name to watch: Anthony Steen. The former University of Alabama offensive guard had his senior season ravaged by injuries. He suffered a concussion early in the year and underwent shoulder surgery after the regular season, which forced him to miss the combine. Despite four full-time guards and two other guard/centers on the roster, Steen can play himself into contention for a roster spot if he can regain his collegiate form in the next month. The Cardinals signed him knowing about his medical history but they obviously saw enough potential to bring him on board. Steen can be another one of general manager Steve Keim’s hidden gems.
Arizona will bring in between 15-20 tryout players this weekend to see if anyone catches their eye. Don’t be surprised if one or two are signed, which means someone will be cut.
This weekend isn’t just for drafted rookies, undrafted free agents and tryout players. The Cardinals will also include a few young players they feel need the extra reps, so don’t be surprised to hear about third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley taking snaps alongside Thomas. This is an opportunity for roster players to prove why they’re already on the team, but they can’t look at the weekend as a punishment and just go through the motions because Keim and Arians won’t mind cutting them in favor of someone who wants to be out there.