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Former tryout player Jimmy Legree standing out in Arizona Cardinals rookie camp

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One year after making the offseason roster as a tryout player, he is comfortable and making plays.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams bring in many tryout players to their rookie mini-camps. It is part competition and part necessity. Teams need enough players to do all the reps they want to do. Sometimes these players show enough to replace players on the 90-man offseason roster.

Cornerback Jimmy Legree was one such tryout player in rookie camp for the Arizona Cardinals last year. He is still with the team a year later and, after a year on the practice squad and having gained some weight in the last year and "making some nice improvement," head coach Bruce Arians said, making it a point to say he was a standout in practice on Friday. "we could use him."

Out there on with the rookies and other tryout players, Legree "got his hands on some balls and looked really good."

Naturally, after a year with the team, you would think he would.

Legree  was one of four tryout players last year to get signed after rookie camp. Legree, receiver Kevin Ozier, tackle Corey Brandon and running back Jalen Parmele were added to the offseason roster. Ozier and Brandon didn't make it out of the preseason. Parmele was cut but re-signed during the season and actually played, but was cut again. Only Legree remained with the team. He was on the practice squad all last season.

Being in the same locker room, classroom and practice field as guys like Patrick Peterson, Antonio Cromartie and Jerraud Powers, "it was a great experience" for Legree.

"Coming up you grow up watching these guys and to be actually side-by-side with them is a dream come true," he said. "I was just like a sponge soaking up everything they taught me."

Now he is is more comfortable in his second rookie camp. "I'm comfortable knowing the playbook and knowing the system," said Legree. "I'm more comfortable out there with the fellas. Communication is the key. Being comfortable allows you to play faster and that's what I'm trying to do."

A year ago, as a tryout player, he believes "he did a pretty good job" of taking the information given in the classroom and showing it on the field. It was enough to get signed, make the practice squad and get retained after the season.

Now he believes he has a real shot at the final 53 for 2015.

"I feel confident this year," he said. "We lost Cromartie. I feel the job is kind of wide open, so I'm just going to go out and do what I need to do, and may the best man win."