Cardinals CB Kei’Trel Clark talks ‘elevator process’ of rookie season

Jun 6, 2024, 9:25 AM

Kei'Trel Clark at practice...

Arizona Cardinals CB Kei'Trel Clark runs through drills during practice on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Kei’Trel Clark dealt with his share of ups and downs during his rookie season.

From being inserted into the starting lineup at the beginning of the season to being benched toward the end, Clark told Bickley & Marotta Wednesday morning that having to deal with the adversity was an like “elevator process.”

“Some people take the elevator. Some people are able to just go to the top with no problems,” Clark said. “Obviously for me, I think I had to take the stairs and sometimes I may have fell back two steps and had to walk back up 10.”

A sixth-round pick of the Cardinals in 2023, Clark started five out of the first six games his rookie season before missing the next three games. When he came back, he started two out of the next four games but was benched the last four games, playing only on special teams.

In total, he recorded 43 tackles, two for lsos and four passes defensed over 464 defensive snaps.

As Clark goes into his second year in the league, the experience he gained in his rookie season has helped him jump “1,000 years ahead.”

“I feel like I’m already in a veteran seat just based off of my experience from last year,” Clark said. “Just finding that new routine as far as this year goes so things are going a lot easier than they were last year because everything was kind of new to me.”

Clark will look to compete for the cornerback role, but there are plenty of other players in the cornerback room doing the same.

The Cardinals signed free agent Sean Murphy-Bunting, while second-year corners Garrett Williams and Starling Thomas V earned time over Clark last season. Arizona added rookies Max Melton, Elijah Jones and Jaden Davis in the draft.

When asked about this year’s cornerback room, Clark said “it is a lot more competitive” than his rookie year. But that has pushed him.

“I think that it honestly makes me play better as well, and we’re playing off of each other as well,” Clark said. “We’re competing with the next man (and) there’s never no hating energy or any of that because we’re pushing each other to be the best that we can possibly be.”

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