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Cards Camp Recap: Top Five Takeaways from Day One

What were the main takeaways from the first practice at University of Phoenix Stadium?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

There was a crackle of excitement in the air as the fans flooded in the front door, the horn sounded, and there was an unmistakable feeling that football was back.  Though it was a non-padded practice, it still remained the first time that the public got a chance to take a look at the 2016 Arizona Cardinals.

So what did we learn from Day One of training camp?  Let's take a look:

1. Brandon Williams was the talk of the day

With Justin Bethel side-lined for at least two more weeks, Third-round rookie Brandon Williams was slotted as the team's other first-team corner opposite Patrick Peterson.  And he certainly made an impression.

Williams didn't look like a guy who was in his second year TOTAL playing cornerback and he showed an excellent awareness in man coverage while having an up-and-down day.  You'd think that would be bound to happen for a rookie having to go up against Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, John Brown and J.J. Nelson every snap.

Williams was thrown into the fire, but rose to the occasion.

He had two pass break-ups intended for Michael Floyd, the second gaining whoops and hollers from his defensive teammates, but he was also beaten several times by John Brown, once on a deep pass and on a double move.  That said, his upside is tantalizing considering how raw he is.

The question is, will he show enough to hold off Bethel in such a short amount of time?  We'll see.  It's worth noting the previous group of Steve Keim's third-round picks include: Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Martin, John Brown and David Johnson.  That's one impressive group.

2. Patrick Peterson came to ball

Peterson looked every bit the shutdown corner he aspires to be, breaking up nearly every pass that came his way and getting the crowd involved.  He looks as good as he did last year, and a Defensive Player of the Year season is what he desires.

Will his position as a corner limit him from what he wants?

3. Marqui Christian might be an instant special teams impact player

It's just drills, no pads and not even "real football" as Bruce Arians would call it.  But I couldn't help but notice Fifth-round pick Marqui Christian in the special teams drills.  He showed tremendous speed and athleticism and looked like a natural center-fielder when he played in the 7-on-7 drills with his speed.

Arizona might have a bit longer to work with the small-school pick as he adjusts to the NFL, but it's possible they see immediate help on special teams as a gunner.

4. The Center Of Attention Might Not Be Who We Thought They Were

Most of the offseason since he was drafted, Evan Boehm has been the focal point of many fans looking to a long-term center, or a player to challenge A.Q. Shipley for the starting spot.

But today, Boehm wasn't even a part of the discussion.  It's clearly Shipley's job to lose, but there was another player who received a few snaps with the first-team offense at Center: Earl Watford.

Watford has been a backup since he was drafted in 2013, but not only has he outlasted Jonathan Cooper on the roster, he's gained the flexibility to play tackle, guard and center all on the line.  Having a swing lineman is helpful for a coach, but what would help Watford the most would be seizing a starting spot going into a contract year.

He might be a surprise challenger to Shipley's hold as camp unfolds.

5. Early Injury News

It wasn't all good news.  TE Jermaine Gresham and CB Mike Jenkins walked off with the trainers with injury.  It didn't look as serious for long-term injury news at the time, but we will have to wait for tomorrow for more news.

Odds and ends:

-People LOVE the Honey Badger still.  Tyrann Mathieu (wearing his jersey despite being on the PUP list) got the loudest cheer of the afternoon when he entered the field at UoP Stadium.

-If Palmer's still stinging from the NFC Championship game, it didn't show.  His healed finger didn't show it either, and the highlight of the afternoon was a deep connection to John Brown.

-John Brown dropped no less than 5 passes, including a wide-open touchdown.  Arians let him have it, and I'm assuming that for a moment, "Smoke" saw his nickname revert to a certain other explicit nickname that fans learned about from "All Or Nothing".

-For those of you who love Long Snapper battles, Kameron Canaday seemed to be the primary guy as of Day 1.  I wouldn't put anything into that though, as both will likely split time.

-On a similar note, there's not much to tell about Barkley and Coker.  I'll have more on them in tomorrow's recap.

-David Johnson looked good, quick and juked out most of the Cardinals' starting defense on a run around the edge.  And to think people thought he didn't have the speed for that at some point before the 2015 Draft.

That is all for now, be sure to tune in tomorrow for a recap of Day 2!

Let me know if you have any questions for #CardsCamp as well, leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them all on Facebook Live and Periscope tomorrow at the stadium.

Looking forward to tomorrow?  So am I.