‘He did jam me:’ Cardinals’ Jonathan Gannon goes 1-on-1 with Terrion Arnold at NFL Combine

Mar 2, 2024, 6:35 AM

Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon confirmed what we all were thinking: He was the coach that top cornerback Terrion Arnold jammed up during the defensive back’s formal interview with the team at the 2024 NFL Draft Combine this week.

Arnold, however, left out one detail on the exchange when speaking to reporters on Thursday.

“He did jam me, but I played receiver back in the day,” Gannon told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Friday. “So then the next rep, he put his hands up and I swiped them down and hip-blocked him and said, ‘I would have scored on that one.'”

Gannon’s tactics in the small meeting room may get more laughs than most, but they do help pull back the curtain that much more when meeting with gobs of prospects throughout the week.

Every bit helps, according to Gannon.

“That’s just part of what I like to do with corners. Every position is a little bit different, but how well do they know the technique that’s been taught to them and the ‘why’ behind it? And then I put my little spin on it a little bit,” Gannon said. “He did a good job.”

The head coach didn’t stop at Arnold, either, putting numerous defensive backs to the test this week.

As for what general manager Monti Ossenfort thinks of Gannon turning into WR1?

“I play receiver in those meetings for a little bit and then Monti goes, ‘Alright, you can’t do that anymore. Sit down,'” Gannon said. “I have a little bit of fun with those guys, but you do figure out if they really do know it.”

Landing a talent of Arnold’s caliber could give the Cardinals a real boost in their cornerbacks room, though Ossenfort would likely need to wheel and deal in the first round to nab the CB.

Thanks to the 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback’s SEC-leading five interceptions and 12 passes defensed, Arnold is being viewed as the top cornerback prospect in the 2024 NFL Draft and was recently mock-drafted to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 15 overall by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

For the Cardinals to nab Arnold, Ossenfort would either have to move down from the No. 4 pick or up from the No. 27 pick, though the latter would likely need additional draft capital associated in the deal.

Jonathan Gannon not the only Arizona Cardinals coach to take hands-on approach with NFL Draft Combine prospects

While Gannon likes to “suit up” as a pseudo-wideout, Cardinals defensive coordinator Nick Rallis heads to the trenches as an offensive lineman.

And from the sounds of it, he needed some ice after this past week.

“When you talk to Rallis, he likes to play center and guard for some of those D-linemen,” Gannon said. “I bet he’s literally right now back in Phoenix with like a bruised chest, because this one dude shocked him and I was like, ‘Oh my god, he’s about put him through the TV.’

“I said, ‘The next part of this was I was going to play guard, but I don’t want to play guard anymore after seeing that. You can just sit down and we can start getting into the tape right now.'”

Luckily for Rallis, he’s used to putting his body on the line for the good of the team.

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