Kevin Minter understands.
His selection on draft night was overshadowed by Tyrann Mathieu, who was taken 24 spots after the Arizona Cardinals made Minter the 45th overall pick.
And on Thursday, Minter found himself as Act Two. His introductory press conference followed his former LSU teammate’s meeting with the media.
“It is what it is,” Minter said. “Even though I was obviously picked before him, the guy was a playmaker. He did a lot for us that national championship year. I’m just excited to have him on the team with me again.”
Minter doesn’t seem to mind the spotlight eluding him.
He might not be so lucky later this summer.
Given the uncertain status of starting inside linebacker Daryl Washington, the Cardinals may look for their second round pick to play a large role right away.
“One of my best attributes that everybody talks about is me being able to get the playbook fast,” Minter said. “I’m going to get it. I’m used to making the calls. I’m used to being the leader out there.”
In his final season at LSU, Minter registered a team-high 130 tackles, was named team MVP and was one of three finalists for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.
“I’ve got to assert myself,” he said of trying to become a leader despite his rookie status. “I’m the middle linebacker. I’m the quarterback of that defense. I’ve got to make my presence felt. I feel like I’m going to do that in these coming weeks.”
It starts Friday when the Cardinals open a three-day rookie minicamp at their training facility in Tempe.
“I feel like I’m a pretty intense player. I probably don’t seem that way in this press conference,” Minter said, eliciting laughs.
“I’m very passionate when I’m on the field. I play every down hard and I try to get the best out of all my teammates. I feel like I’m a great leader. I’m not necessarily a hoorah-type of guy. I’m more of a speak softly; carry a big stick type of dude. You all will see when the season starts.”