Trent Sherfield’s underdog mentality beneficial to Kirk, Cardinal wideouts
GLENDALE, Ariz. — While the talk of the town was on rookie quarterback Kyle Murray following the team’s first preseason action, the same could be said for second-year wideout Trent Sherfield.
Pacing the receiving corps with four receptions on five targets for 44 yards and a touchdown in Thursday’s 17-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Sherfield showed his worth in a crowded wide receivers room.
It’s been an uphill climb for Sherfield, who went undrafted out of Vanderbilt last season before signing on with the Cardinals, playing in 13 contests in 2018. He recorded 210 yards and a score on 19 receptions, all of which came in the last seven games.
Sherfield faces yet another challenge in Year 2 as he fights to secure a roster spot with veterans and highly touted 2019 NFL Draft picks heavily in the mix.
As of Sunday, there are 12 wide receivers on the team’s roster. That number could be cut in half when it’s all said and done.
That climb, however, hasn’t gone unnoticed, as his teammates have seen the drive Sherfield possesses day in and day out.
For Christian Kirk, Sherfield’s added push to prove himself to the Cardinals and the rest of the NFL has only helped magnify his own game.
“Trent’s one of my best friends on the team, and just to be able to work with him and come in every day and take on that mentality that he has,” Kirk said of his fellow wideout. “Because he for sure has that underdog mentality, he has that chip on his shoulder and just to be around that every day, it’s easy to pick up on.
“Now I kinda get to match that intensity and work like that so it’s been great.”
Selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Kirk has had a noticeably different path to the league.
While some draft picks might take the foot off the pedal and think they made it once they hear their name called on draft night, Kirk’s taking a page out of Sherfield’s book as the two prepare for their second seasons as pros.
“He speaks it into existence, that’s the biggest thing,” Kirk said when asked about Sherfield’s mentality rubbing off on guys. “We spend so much time around each other, we’re always talking about it.
“I always tell him he helps me out a bunch because being a drafted guy and him being an undrafted guy, I get to take on that undrafted mentality and work like I’m undrafted too. That helps because you can get complacent fast, but we always say the cup is never full. It’s always empty.”
That mentality could pay dividends for a receiving corps ready for a clean slate.
Last season proved disastrous for Cardinals wide receivers, and the offense as a whole.
Compared to the rest of the NFL, Arizona’s wideouts ranked last in yards (2,884) and yards per game (180.3), 31st in average yards per catch (10.2) and tied for 30th in touchdowns (15). Larry Fitzgerald led all Arizona receivers with 734 yards and six touchdowns, good enough for 45th and a tie for 25th among pass catchers, respectively.
But gone is 2018, with a revamped receivers room ready to prove itself.
Sherfield’s added fire only heightens that.
“We’re a tight-knit group, and we know the work that we put in every day,” Kirk said of the receivers. “We talk and envision everything that we want to accomplish this year and just establish ourselves as a leading receiving corps in this league and a dominant one.
“We’re shooting no lower than the stars, and that’s just the type of mentality we take on every day when we step on the field.”