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Arizona Cardinals rookie Jonathan Cooper feels pressure to succeed

"Nobody wants to be a bust"

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

First round draft pick Jonathan Cooper is in the house. He signed his contract, showed up to practice in the morning and ran the conditioning test in front of the entire team. Head coach Bruce Arians said he "breezed through it," and he got applause from his teammates.

Cooper didn't think "breeze" was quite the right word, though. "That's debatable," he said. "I was pleased with how well I got through it. I was exhausted after the first one, so it became mental at that point."

He only had to run it a second time, although he was prepared to run it thrice. The rest of the team only had to do it twice last Thursday. He said he was worried "a little bit" about the run.

From there, it was to work.

In the afternoon, he had his first reps with contact having to block Calais Campbell. He did okay overall. I did not see any problems, and he battled hard.

"[Practice] was good," he said in his own words. "It was tough, as I thought it would be. But I was pleased early on because I started fairly strong. I tailed off at the end, making a few errors, but I was pleased and I look to get better as we continue to move forward."

He knows that he needs to get into his playbook, which is what he is doing with his down time with his roommate at the hotel -- fellow rookie guard Earl Watford.

He is a little behind because it took until Monday for him to sign his new contract. The wait was hard on him. He called it "very difficult" because the anticipation "just killed (him)." He worried about what his teammates would think of him, if he could still pug right back in, among other things.

However, he is a sensible kid. When asked what would be his first big purchase with the money he is about to get (over $9 million over the next three months. not counting his salary that begins Week 1). He said it would be "probably renting my apartment."

Considering his draft status (seventh overall), he understands the pressure to perform, especially with how the organization has just raved about him.

"Just being drafted that high at any position you feel immense pressure and i know I put a lot of pressure on myself," he explained. "I want to succeed. I'm a competitor."

"Nobody wants to be a bust," he reiterated.

However, he does understand one thing -- "it's really not about me, but about us as a unit."

He doesn't want to get too big a head and doesn't want negative thought creeping into his mind. He has the right approach.

Carson Palmer described him as "a glass half full kind of guy," and noted just how much he likes football "which is a hard thing for an offensive lineman to do at the start of training camp."

He seems tailor-made to succeed. He is talented, he is smart and he has his head on straight.

I asked him who he would like to be.

"There's a bunch guards I'd like to be like," he said. "There's Jahri Evans, guys of that nature, the Saints' guards. They're both pretty good. Carl Nicks...those guys that are maulers, They've succeeded, they've been successful for several years and they continue year in and year out to be great players."

He has drawn comparisons to Alan Faneca.

If he becomes anything like any of those players, I don't think anyone will regret his selection.

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