CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals rookie Elijah Jones carves unique path out of New York

May 14, 2024, 11:09 AM | Updated: 5:25 pm

TEMPE — There were a lot of “coulds” in Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Elijah Jones’ career path.

Being from New York, the “basketball mecca,” and having a brother who played Division I hoops, Jones could have gone that route.

He could have followed in the musical footsteps of his father and founding member of hip hop group Brand Nubian, DJ Alamo — though that could still be an avenue later in life.

And with his mother having a modeling background, who knows what other doors could have been opened for Jones?

Jones wanted to form his own path in the big city. Football was and continues to be his compass.

“(There were) a lot of things that just kind of came around where it was always just competitive,” Jones said during Cardinals rookie minicamp last week. “I’m the youngest of three brothers, so everything was literally me following their footsteps and losing every battle I could until I became big enough to finally fight my own. It was just great to put that and apply it all the way through life.

“I wanted to be able to create my own lane and identity,” the rookie cornerback added. “I was a little temperamental, angry kid, so to be able to take that out there and be able to go knock some heads was cool.”

Now a member of the Cardinals, the 2024 third-round pick out of Boston College knows the uphill climb that awaits him.

Jones is going to get a good glimpse of just how crowded the cornerback room is, too, with two other rookies and a trio of returning second-year players jostling for playing time.

Jones welcomes the opportunity to further prove guys from New York can ball.

“Growing up in New York was just huge,” Jones said. “We talk about that confidence and kind of like that swagger that comes with it. I just feel like you automatically have a chip on your shoulder just growing up there. People say there’s no football in New York City and stuff like that. Just being able to carry that with me all the way through.

“I think just in general there’s a lot of DBs on this team and to be able to have that chemistry and be able to grow together I think is really big,” he added. “It’s not just going to be a one-year thing. … Just being able to get that experience together and being able to understand each other and being able to build that chemistry for years to come is going to be something exciting to see.”

Christian Jones, not Elijah, was on the Cardinals’ aux cord

Football may be Elijah Jones’ career path, but it’s far from his only love given his family’s background.

As he put it Tuesday, “music is through my veins. Through my veins.”

Jones, however, was not on the aux cord when he and the rookies were shuttled over for minicamp.

That duty instead belonged to offensive lineman Christian Jones, who was more than amped about getting the chance to DJ.

Safe to say the cornerback who grew up around gold records, about 3,000 vinyls and hip hop royalty had his take on the playlist.

“A stingy 6,” Elijah Jones said with a smile when asked to rate Christian Jones’ picks. “I think he had some good songs. It was a little all over the place. He had some (Snoop Dogg) in there, he was throwing some (The Notorious B.I.G.) on. You can’t have East Coast and West Coast at the same time. It just defeats the purpose.

“He was happy to be in the passenger seat, so I was able to just let him do his thing,” the cornerback added. “Once it’s my time to get on, I’m not getting off. It’s over.”

The gameday playlist

Jones’ gameday playlist includes “Redemption” by Bob Marley, “Let the Beat Build” by Lil Wayne and “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down” and “To the Right” by Brand Nubian.

His final song before heading out onto the field is “Earned It” by Chief Keef.

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