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ESPN’s Kiper: Cardinals QB Antonio Pipkin an undrafted free agent to watch

Tiffin quarterback Antonio Pipkin runs through drills during practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Generally, when a player is not among those chosen in the NFL Draft, there is a reason.

Sometimes, there are off-the-field concerns; other times, a player does not have prototypical size, speed or attributes.

Every now and then, a player is not called because he attended a lesser-known school, and therefore there were doubts about his competition.

That might be the case with QB Antonio Pipkin, who the Cardinals have reportedly brought in from Division II Tiffin.

That’s in Ohio, by the way.

While you may not have heard of Pipkin, the QB landed on ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr.’s list of 25 undrafted free agents to watch.

Playing at tiny Division II Tiffin, Pipkin had 85 career touchdown passes to just 28 interceptions while completing 64.8 percent of his passes. He didn’t impress at the Senior Bowl, however, and doesn’t have ideal size (6-1, 225). There was some thought the Cardinals would use their first-round pick on a quarterback, but they didn’t draft one. Arizona is thin behind Carson Palmer, with only Drew Stanton and Zac Dysert on the roster.

Pipkin was not on the list the Cardinals released of undrafted rookie free agents they had signed, which means if he is in Arizona, it is likely on a tryout basis. If he is, Pipkin is one of two undrafted QBs the Cardinals will have in rookie camp this weekend, joining Texas A&M’s Trevor Knight.

“Both really good athletes,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said of Knight and Pipkin at Steak 44 in Phoenix. “Trevor bounced around from Oklahoma — that Sugar Bowl game he had at Oklahoma against Alabama, he dropped about four or five dimes on them; got into more of a read-option offense at A&M, so yeah, he’s an intriguing guy.

“And the young fella from Tiffin, we’ll see; I liked him at the Senior Bowl — Senior Bowl was good for a lot of guys — so we’ll wait and see how that pans out.”

As Pipkin told the Advertiser-Tribune back in April, his goal is to show the other 31 NFL teams they missed out on a great player. He also said the Cardinals presented the best situation for him.

“I got a call from my agent saying the (Cardinals’) staff really liked me,” Pipkin said.

There’s reason to be intrigued.

Last year, as a senior, Pipkin passed for 2,534 yards  and 25 touchdowns while rushing for 905 yards and seven scores. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes and was intercepted just six times.

A dual-threat who accounted for most of his team’s offense, Pipkin’s NFL.com draft profile says he is a “quick ball-handler with an even quicker release on inside play-action from the gun,” while noting he throws fades and seam passes easily and takes care of the ball.

On the down side, his profile says he is short for the position, and he has a tendency to get antsy once his initial read is not open. His pocket poise also needs work, it says, and he also has some footwork issues.

In other words, Pipkin is like many other undrafted rookie free agents in that he is carrying little in the way of real expectations, though there is at least reason to believe he is someone worth taking a closer look at.

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