Can Isaiah Adams be the answer to the Cardinals’ question at left guard?

May 14, 2024, 5:25 PM | Updated: 5:27 pm

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals are doing pretty well from themselves from an offensive line standpoint.

Despite the departure of D.J. Humphries, they’ve got quality depth at tackle with Paris Johnson Jr. and Jonah Williams leading the charge on top of trusted options in Will Hernandez and Hjalte Froholdt at right guard and center, respectively.

The fifth member of the starting line, however, remains to be seen. General manager Monti Ossenfort made sure to restock the cupboard with interior lineman this offseason, whether it be through the 2024 NFL Draft or free agency.

The question is, who is going to step up and take it?

Veteran Evan Brown has been considered a frontrunner for quite some time. Returning pieces Elijah Wilkinson and Trystan Colon will get another look. The same goes for second-year pro Jon Gaines II, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury.

But the intriguing name to watch this offseason as he fights his way up the depth chart is third-round pick Isaiah Adams, who isn’t shy about where he likes to call home and understands just how important the first few days at the training facility can be.

“First impressions are everything,” Adams said Tuesday. “I’m so competitive, I’m so hard on myself. Even if I’m not competing with someone else, I’m competing with who I was yesterday in a sense. The competition has begun and I’m looking forward to it. I just want to be better than I was yesterday.”

“I definitely feel more comfortable inside,” he added. “I did what the team needed (playing tackle in the past). I played (junior college) and I was a tackle there the whole time, so definitely whatever the team needs. Football’s football, but guard is my position and I have a lot of success out there.”

After his JUCO days, Adams got to work with Illinois in 2022. He quickly found himself in the starting lineup, making 12 starts at left guard compared to one at left tackle.

This past year, though, Adams spent the majority of his time at right tackle behind 10 starts. He made just two at left guard.

Despite the added time working on the exterior, Adams remains confident in his abilities along the inside, regardless of where that may be.

“I played a lot of left throughout my years, but 10 games at right tackle, I can play either side,” Adams said. “That’s something that I don’t mind doing.”

From the rink to the field

Before Adams dove headfirst into football, the Canadian was all about hockey.

It wasn’t until a friendly nudge put Adams on the path he’s on today.

“Growing up in Canada, it’s a little bit different. Everybody loves hockey,” Adams said. “My older brother was huge into hockey, I played hockey.

“I made the football switch when my trainer was telling me I’m playing the wrong sport. ‘Get your hand in the dirt.’ That was the best decision I ever made in my life.”

But while playing defenseman is now firmly on the back burner, Adams was still able to translate some of what he picked up on the ice to the field.

“A lot of my job was backwards skating. It’s definitely helped me in terms of kick-stepping,” Adams said. “You go from backwards skating on ice and on stilts to your planted in the ground. You’re backpedaling in a sense. It’s definitely all come together and helped me become a better athlete.”

Snack time with Tip Reiman

Adams has unfortunately not received any pottery with college teammate and current roommate Tip Reiman.

That’s not to say the Cardinals rookie tight end hasn’t lent a hand to his buddy in another way.

“He gave me a couple snacks late at night but that’s about it.”

As for Adams’ go-to snack?

“I’d say Oreos for sure,” he said. “I try to stay off them and keep my physique.”

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