TEMPE, Ariz. -- There was a lot to absorb and comprehend over the last month of the Arizona Cardinals' offseason practices.
With practices ending Wednesday, however, there were five main things I learned about the Cards during organized team activities and minicamp. But No. 1 on my list was the Cardinals' No. 1 pick. At the onset of OTAs, D.J. Humphries was immature, according to coach Bruce Arians but over the last two weeks he saw Humphries start to figure it out.
"He really had a good last week," Arians said. "He settled odwn a little bit. He knows how serious this is."
That led me to think that Humphries may end being a major project for the Cardinals.
He's clearly talented but he's may be too young to understand what's expected out of him in the NFL. It takes some rookies a year, Arians said, to adapt to being a professional. But what could hamper Humphries' progress next season is a determined Bobby Massie. He went through similar growing pains as a rookie but has figured it out, and isn't about to give up his lot to a rookie.
Even though he was a first-round pick, Humphries won't be given this job. And from what I've seen it may take another wake-up call or two for him to figure out how to win it.
4 other things I learned during minicamp:
David Johnson is the real deal: The rookie out of the University of Northern Iowa not only looks like the part of an NFL tailback, he can play like it, too. Overall, he looked impressive throughout OTAs and minicamp, showcasing his strength and quickness. But it was his versatility that caught my attention. Johnson ran in-between the tackles, bounced outside and also lined up as a receiver. His receiving skills also caught Carson Palmer's attention.
The defense will be better than I expected: I didn't have a lot of high expectations for the Cardinals defense because of the amount of turnover. But new defensive coordinator James Bettcher has been carrying over Todd Bowles' scheme rather seamlessly, and the amount of depth on the defensive roster -- which could change this offseason, as general manager Steve Keim alluded to -- is staggering. It looks like a hockey game sometimes with all the line changes. But the amount of flexibility up front combined with how deep and athletic the secondary is has me thinking it'll be a force again.
The offensive line will be just fine with A.Q. Shipley in the middle: This was another area I had reservations with, mainly because of Shipley's size. But he came into OTAs focused on being the starter and he seized the moment. The line has looked solid protecting Palmer (yes, I know it's only in pads, but still) and Shipley appears to have a firm grasp of the offense already because he played in it in Indianapolis under Bruce Arians in 2012.
Logan Thomas may not be a Cardinal next season: There's such a thing as tough love. And there's such a thing as a coach having seen enough. From what I've seen of Thomas during OTAs and minicamp, I think Arians has had enough. Thomas barely played in the final OTA -- although Arians said it was because he practiced a lot the day before. But during minicamp, Thomas' place in the quarterback rotation kept fluctuating. If he was the solid third-string quarterback, he'd have been taking reps right after Drew Stanton every time. To cap it off, Thomas was quickly replaced during Wednesday's OTA when offensive linemen jumped offsides. It looked like a miscommunication but Arians didn't want to see anymore.