Arizona Cardinals rookie D.J. Humphries: ‘I don’t really know how to ride the bench’

May 1, 2015, 9:28 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm
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LISTEN: D.J. Humphries, Cardinals offensive tackle

TEMPE, Ariz. — Harold Goodwin spoke to the media Friday about tackle D.J. Humphries, the Arizona Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“I imagine if nothing else, you’re excited to have a new toy to play with on that offensive line,” the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive coordinator was asked.

Goodwin flashed as wide a smile as you are likely to see from anyone involved in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“You know, I’m happy. I just think about the teams in this league that have great success in the run game, protection and make it to the big game itself,” he said. “Their offensive lines are always pretty solid.

“Not to bring up a division opponent, but you think about what San Francisco had, as far as what they had (with) draft picks up front. We’re getting close to that, and I’m happy.”

Shortly after the Cardinals made Humphries the 24th overall selection in the draft, general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Humphries will help the offensive line’s transformation from being one of the worst in football two years ago to now one of the best in the league.

The 6-foot-5, 307-pound former Florida Gator appeared in 29 games at left tackle in college, but will move over to the right side as a professional. Though he’s never played right tackle before, Arians said that with as athletic as Humphries is, switching sides should not be much of an issue.

The rookie is fine with the move.

“To be honest, I could care less,” he said. “I’ll play long snapper if they need me to be a long snapper. If you can play right tackle then you can play left tackle. If you can play left tackle then you can play right tackle. It’s all one (and) the same.”

Humphries’ versatility was enticing, as is the fact that the Cardinals view him as one of the best players available in this year’s draft. The selection, while maybe not filling a desperate need, makes sense if you are as high on the player as Arizona is.

“Me, personally, he was my No. 1-rated tackle,” Goodwin said. “You saw the athleticism; obviously you guys see the size, and the personality fits in as well. So he’s going to fit in nicely. But on tape, you see a guy who can handle the left side and mash people in the run game, so that’s what we’re looking for.”

“As a scout, I’ve said many times that we have a tendency to overanalyze NFL draft picks,” Keim said Friday. “The more tape you watch, the more holes you find in players. This is the complete opposite for a player like D.J.

“The more tape we watch, the more we liked about him — his range, his athleticism, his size, his length — and not only the player he is right now, but the player he has the potential of becoming.”

From here, the question becomes how long it will take for him to realize that potential, or at least be good enough to earn his way onto the field.

Humphries will be competing with Bobby Massie, a fourth-year pro who started every game last season, to be the starter. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Massie was the 42nd-best tackle in the NFL last season after allowing nine QB sacks, eight QB hits and 28 QB hurries.

There has been no timetable announced for when Humphries can expect to start, only that the plan is for him to come in and compete for the job. But it’s not often a team takes a player in the first round and asks him to sit, so it would not be a surprise to see the 21-year-old on the field at some point this season.

“Obviously when you get to this league, I think the outside rushers are just a little bit better than what he’s seen in college,” Goodwin said. “So that’s going to take a little bit to get used to, but once he gets the feel for that he should be fine.”

One of six offensive linemen taking in the first round Thursday night, Humphries said while he has plenty to learn, he can step onto the field now and contribute.

“Like I was telling Coach [Thursday] night, I don’t really know how to ride the bench,” he said. “I never rode the bench in high school, didn’t ride it in college, so I’m ready to learn on the fly. Everything I’m ready to learn, I’m ready to learn it. I’m ready to come in and try to make an immediate impact, that’s for sure.”

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