Rookie Paul Lasike makes strong first impression

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The guy in the photo is Paul Lasike. Pronounced “Luh-SEE-kay.”

He’s a native of New Zealand and a former rugby player who played football for the first time in his life while at BYU. At 5-foot-11, 232 pounds, Lasike is a 25-year-old rookie that went undrafted.

Lasike is a running back on the Arizona Cardinals training camp roster, but he might as well have been a battering ram on Monday when the Cardinals put on the pads for the first time at camp. Lasike was among those who generated some buzz during contact drills because he made some serious contact.

With coach Bruce Arians watching intently, Lasike joined the backs and tight ends going one-on-one in pass blocking drills against linebackers and safeties. At one point, he collided with former college teammate Alani Fua and got the better of that battle, then executed a clean cut block on Fua after the two squared off again right away.

"Yeah, absolutely, one-on-ones. That's my thing. My only thing, really," Lasike said with a smile. "Lead blocking and pass protection, those are what I really specialize in. I love the physicality of the game. I love the contact. That's what I have to offer."

Lasike also showed some athleticism, catching a pass while falling down and getting up to go untouched into the end zone. It fired up teammate Larry Fitzgerald, who ran out to congratulate the rookie.

He's a longshot to make the final roster, but Lasike certainly left an impression Monday.

"I'm just giving it my everything, every down I get," Lasike said.

More from Monday's session:

  • Cornerback Jerraud Powers had a near-interception, then broke up a pass on the next play.

  • The quarterback play was good, notably that of Carson Palmer, who is wearing a knee brace after ACL surgery. Palmer has looked strong from the start of practices though he was hit low on Monday. "He's in top form right now," Arians said. "He really knows the offense and has a great rapport with those top five (receivers)."

  • Dr. Jen Welter looks thrilled to be out on the field, often smiling and waving to the fans as she and the linebackers jogged from drill to drill.

  • With Andre Ellington and David Johnson dealing with hamstring injuries, running back Kerwynn Williams is getting a lot of first-team snaps.

  • Wide receiver Jaron Brown made a number of quality catches in practice as he looks to keep his place in the game rotation.