Rookie QB Trevor Knight wants to prove his worth to the Arizona Cardinals
TEMPE, Ariz. — And then there were four.
Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Trevor Knight jumped up one spot on the depth chart when the team cut Zac Dysert earlier this month.
The Cardinals were never going to keep all five quarterbacks, even with an extended training camp and fifth preseason game in their future. Still, the move served as a “Welcome to the NFL” moment for Knight, who quickly realized the business side of the National Football League.
“For all of us rookies it was kind of a slap in the face, if you will, kind of showing us that this is real,” he said, referring to Dysert’s release. “Your days are numbered if you’re not producing and you got to just go out there and have fun and play ball and get better and better each day and prove that your worth is worth having on the team.”
It would appear Knight did just that, at least in comparison to Dysert, this offseason.
A good portion of the practices were closed to the media, so it’s hard to completely get a feel for the progress Knight made. Even during mini-camp, which were open to reporters, Knight’s reps were limited because the team went from two fields to one practicing inside the bubble.
Again, though, the Cardinals had to have seen more upside in Knight, 23, than Dysert, 27.
In 2016, Dysert split time between the active roster and practice squad but didn’t appear in any games.
Knight, meanwhile, joined the Cardinals as a rookie free agent out of Texas A&M.
“I just wanted to come out here and prove that I can play quarterback at this level and that I can pick up an offense quickly and make adjustments and not make the same mistake twice,” he said. “I think I did pretty well throughout mini-camp of doing that and have just gained confidence since then.”
The knock on Knight coming out of college was his accuracy. He completed 55.5 percent of his passes in four seasons, one with the Aggies and three at Oklahoma. That alone may have scared off NFL teams. There were 10 quarterbacks drafted and Knight was not among them.
Still, Knight was on the Cardinals’ radar and became one of the 17 rookie free agents to agree to contracts on May 2.
Since then, Knight has done all he can to make a good impression.
“It’s all about just making the most of it when you’re in there; making sure you’re getting mental reps in the back when you’re not in there and learning from the guys like Carson (Palmer) and Drew (Stanton) and Blaine (Gabbert), guys that have been around before that have played at a high level; just trying to soak up as much as I can,” he said.
Though No. 4 on the depth chart, Knight will be No. 1 for the next two weeks. The veterans have departed for the summer, leaving Knight and the other rookies full reign of the team’s training facility. It’s the first time they’ve been by themselves since rookie mini-camp.
“I think it’ll be huge,” Knight said of the extra work afforded rookies. “To kind of take a step back and maybe re-teach a bunch of things to myself. Learn everything because you’re learning on the fly right now and you’re trying to soak up as much as you can at one time and it can be a little overwhelming. So these next couple of weeks where we have some time off will be great to go back and really learn things down pat.”
It’s what Knight and the other rookies do between now and the start of training camp that may help determine their future beyond September, at least with the Cardinals.
For Knight, he’s cleared the first hurdle. The next will be battling Gabbert to convince the Cardinals to keep him as one of three quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster. Or if not, perhaps open the team’s eyes enough to consider him for the practice squad.
“I’m taking it one day at a time, know that nothing is promised but working like it’s right there in front of me,” Knight said “I’m hoping just to get better and better each and day and hopefully be there when the time comes at the end.”