Max Melton, Elijah Jones ‘growing together’ alongside Arizona’s young CBs

Jun 13, 2024, 1:18 PM | Updated: 1:21 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Cardinals doubled down in adding more youth to the cornerback position this offseason, nabbing three rookies this past NFL Draft.

Of the 11 cornerbacks currently on the roster, only four have more than three years of NFL experience. Veteran Sean Murphy-Bunting leads the way with six.

The makeup of the room calls for added competition, with spots up for grabs. It also brings a level of togetherness that’s been on display early on.

“Technically, we got most of the installs to the playbook in right now. We’re grasping onto it pretty well,” rookie Max Melton told Cardinals Corner, an Arizona Sports podcast, on Wednesday. “We be learning together. … We don’t have any real vets. Only real vet we have is Sean Murphy-Bunting.

“It’s a growing process. We’re growing together and I just can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

That kind of culture and camaraderie at the position was what general manager Monti Ossenfort set out to achieve this offseason.

But above all else, it’s the added competition within the room that has the GM especially giddy with hope.

“We feel like we did that through Sean Murphy-Bunting and the rookies we drafted,” Ossenfort told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday. “And then I think the unspoken part of this is the jump that we’re expecting from our rookies last year. We always talk about there’s not bigger jump that happens in a player’s career than from their rookie year to their second year.

“We’ve got some guys that got valuable experience — Star Thomas, Kei’Trel Clark, Divaad Wilson. We’re expecting out of those guys a jump. … There’s athleticism, there’s speed, there’s physicality and we’re excited to see how that plays out. We strongly believe competition brings out the best in everybody. The more that we can add that to the group, it’s going to push the level of performance up of the whole unit and of that room particularly.”

‘Putting faces to names’

On top of Melton, Jones and the rest of Arizona’s rookie class picking up the playbook, they’ve also had the chance to share the field with players they’ve only seen on television or video games.

“Just excited to be out there, see everybody and putting faces to names I see on TV or in (EA Sports’ Madden),” Jones said. “I’ll be in a drill and hear a call, I look back to give the ‘OK’ sign and it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s Budda Baker back there.’ It’s cool … actually seeing what the talent levels like in the NFL.”

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