Arizona Cardinals draftee Shaquille Riddick on switching from DE to OLB: ‘I’m athletic enough to do it’

May 9, 2015, 3:32 PM | Updated: 6:08 pm

Former West Virginia standout Shaquille Riddick is one of two players from the Arizona Cardinals’ 2015 draft class expected to switch from defensive end to an outside linebacker in the pros.

The other is Markus Golden, a second-round draft pick (58th overall) out of Missouri.

Even if there are any doubts about Riddick’s ability to move to the linebacking unit, the fifth-round draftee doesn’t seem concerned about the task ahead.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” he told reporters during Cardinals rookie minicamp Friday in Tempe. “It’s just something different that I’ve just got to keep practicing. You know, the more practices you get, the better you’re going to get with things. So, it’s just more reps and more practice with it.

“I’ll be all right. I’m athletic enough to do it, so I’ve just got to keep practicing with it.”

Riddick stands 6-foot-6 and 242 pounds. At his school’s pro day, he ran 40-yard dash times of 4.65 and 4.67 seconds.

The Akron, Ohio, native expounded on what he needs to do to become a viable linebacker for his new team.

“You know, I played D-line in my stance most of my career; (I’m) working on getting off just as fast in a two-point stance and just working on my hands and improving everything when it comes to my pass rush,” he said.

If there’s one thing Riddick proved he could do in college, it was rushing the passer. In his lone season at WVU, he tallied 11 tackles for loss and a team-high seven sacks in 13 games. The year before at Gardner-Webb University, Riddick posted 19 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hurries and a team-leading 8.5 sacks in 11 games.

Not only is Riddick changing positions as he enters the NFL, but, naturally, he will have to learn several new plays for his new team.

“When I first (saw) it, I thought it was a lot (of material),” he said of the Cardinals’ defensive playbook. “It was just how we were getting it (thrown) at us, but when we started running reps on the field and getting to practice it after doing it, it wasn’t as much. I never really have a problem learning things, so it seemed real simple after I got my grasp over it.”

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