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Cardinals’ rookies take center stage

With the veterans away for the weekend, the kids got a chance to play.

The Arizona Cardinals opened a three-day rookie minicamp Friday with 38 players, including all nine 2013 draft picks.

“It’s huge for these guys to be able to come out and go at their pace and their tempo,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “But we really haven’t slowed it down as coaches. We threw it at them just like we did the veterans in their first minicamp.”

Arians, in his first year as head coach, was pleased with day one, but couldn’t and wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from the players’ early work.

“It’s too early to tell,” he said. “You really can’t tell until the lights come on. Some of them were different from this morning’s walkthrough to this afternoon’s practice. Until you put them under the lights and battle test them in the preseason you don’t really know about them.

“I’ve had many, many guys that just lit it up on the practice field, then you turn the lights on and they slowed to half speed; and other guys were just the opposite,” Arians continued.

“We’ll find all that out in August.”

For what it’s worth, first-round pick Jonathan Cooper lined up at left guard while fourth-round pick Earl Watford practiced at right guard.

Arians joked that “these poor guys don’t get a chance” to retain much from their first time on the field because they’ll be handed a whole new offense and defense on days two and three.

The true recall test, he said, will come next Tuesday in the first voluntary organized team activities with veterans and rookies.

There are 16 undrafted rookie free agents and a handful of guys in on a tryout. Arians said every one of them has the same opportunity.

“It doesn’t matter how you get here. It’s what you do while you’re here,” he said. “There is story after story after story of guys that were undrafted that have made a great career of themselves just because they put their head down and grind.

“We’ve got some really talented guys that we liked and had good grades on that didn’t get drafted,” Arians continued. “We’re excited about adding them to the mix.”

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