GLENDALE, Ariz. — Parents, for the most part, say they don’t pick a favorite among their children.
Head coach Bruce Arians, who has two kids, is the same when it comes to the eight players in this year’s draft class, his first with the Arizona Cardinals.
“I like the whole class,” he said Thursday.
“Jon(athan) Cooper is playing outstanding. Kevin Minter, the silent assassin. Nobody ever talks about him, but he’s doing a heck of a job. D.C. Jefferson goes up and down like a yo-yo, but when he’s up there he’s pretty good. If we just keep him up there. He’s shown really good progress. Earl Watford has shown really good progress. Tyrann (Mathieu) obviously gets a lot of ink, but those other guys are, they’re doing their jobs.”
Fifth-round pick Stepfan Taylor must have felt he did the job of two running backs with as much time as he spent on the field in the preseason opener against the Packers.
He’ll receive some help this week when fellow running back Andre Ellington, a sixth-round selection, makes his debut. He traveled to Green Bay but did not play because of a stiff neck.
Linebacker Alex Okafor, drafted in the fourth round, will also see his first action after an ankle injury kept him sidelined last Friday.
For Cooper, his goals for only his second NFL game are quite simple.
“My goals are to really just perform up to par and not look like a rookie out there; just really be comfortable out there, try to make as few mental mistakes as possible and really be mentally sound,” he said.
Cooper, whom the Cardinals drafted with the seventh-overall pick, admitted to being anxious in his first professional game, something he believes contributed to the mistakes he made.
“I think just my technique,” he said. “That was just very rookie of me, just kind of wild and flailing versus really sound and just smooth transitions through everything.”
Now that game No. 1 is behind most of his rookies, Arians expects those mental errors to be reduced, if not eliminated entirely.
“That’s when you hope they get the jitters out,” he said. “Playing at home, you can hear the communications a little bit better. Yeah, you would like to see that cleaned up.”