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Arizona Cardinals rookie Shaq Riddick talks about changes to linebacker, respect for Tom Pratt

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The fifth rounder understands the position change brings more responsibility.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals drafted Shaq Riddick to be an edge rusher at outside linebacker, knowing he had never played the position. Of couse, at 6-6, 260 pounds, he is the right build for the position and his speed is exciting.

He has a lot of work to do, but he at least says the right things.

In an article that appears on ohio.com, he said he knew he would likely end up playing linebacker because of his weight.

"I did the drills every day. After that I got a feel of it and knew I really could play this position," Riddick said Friday at the NFC portion of the NFL Rookie Symposium's PLAY 60 Youth Football Clinic at Browns headquarters. "I like a new challenge."

Since being drafted in the fifth round by Arizona, they have been working him only at outside linebacker. Even with the drills he did in college, it is still a big adjustment.

"I've got to know more about the defense than I did on the defensive line," he said. "I've got to know coverages, people dropping, I have to know what the whole defense is doing so I can make sure I'm on the same page."

The problem has been, at least so far, is getting on the practice field. He missed most of OTAs and all of mini-camp because of a hamstring injury. He is behind.

But training camp is coming up and, with pads on, he will be able to show off his pass rushing ability, which is why the Cardinals drafted him. They see a true speed rusher.

He has one of the best to coach him in pass rushing coach Tom Pratt, who enters his 37th year as a coach in the NFL.

"He's a legend. I'm just happy he's on our team," Riddick said of Pratt. "I'm trying to soak in anything he tells me because I know he knows what he's talking about."

Riddick is a project, to say the least. He understands what he needs to do and he has the necessary respect for his coaches. He also has seen success in what he does at every level -- having graduated from high school with a ton of college credits, graduating in 3 years from Gardner-Webb to be able to transfer to West Virginia and play against better competition.

Now, at the highest level, he has a chance to make an impact.