The Arizona Cardinals have already started their first fully-padded practice today which means we are so much closer to the highly-anticipated regular season opener.
Corey Peters is back on the roster. Robert Alford will be a player worth monitoring considering his season-ending injuries the last two seasons. Lots of talent ready to prove they are deserving of a 53-man roster spot.
There are plenty of players on the backend of the 90-man roster that have not been talked about much so here are six lesser-known players to watch during training camp:
Bruno Labelle - Tight End
While Cary Angeline was the Cardinals’ priority undrafted free agent signing and Bernhard Seikovits making the final roster would be an amazing story, one tight end that has not gotten much attention is Bruno Labelle. The former Cincinnati Bearcat product was targeted minimally with only 150 receiving yards in his collegiate career but he brings athleticism, technique as a blocker, and has experience playing on special teams. He could potentially be the H-Back of the Cardinals offense especially with the frame (6’4’’ 247lbs) that he has.
Jamell Garcia-Williams - Outside Linebacker
Among the outside linebackers that are battling for a spot on the Cardinals’ 53-man roster, Jamell Garcia-Williams is the least talked about player in that group. In his final year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he recorded 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. He is a mammoth at his position, standing at 6’8’’ 255lbs with arms almost 36 inches long. Garcia-Williams has had some good reps rushing off the edge during training camp.
Jonathan Ward - Running Back
2020 seventh-round pick Eno Benjamin seems to be getting the attention of Cardinals’ fans as a favorite to land the third running back spot behind Chase Edmonds and James Conner. Even running back coach James Saxon spoke briefly but pretty optimistically of him. However, Jonathan Ward looks like the running back that could have a big role if either of the Cardinals’ top two backs miss time. The former undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan was targeted often during 11-on-11 drills. He had 1,108 rushing yards and 16 total touchdowns along with 34 receptions and 329 receiving yards in his senior season. His one NFL touch went for a touchdown last season and Ward is good on special teams.
Some footage can be found here with credits to Frankie Garcia Jr.
JoJo Ward - Wide Receiver
JoJo Ward has been impressive since his collegiate days at the University of Hawaii when he had 1,134 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019. In terms of route running and overall athletic ability, Ward is explosive. He has made quite a few eye-catching grabs during training camp. A deep threat and a special teams returner. Ward could very well challenge Andy Isabella for a spot on the final roster. With Christian Kirk missing practice for a second day in a row, now is the best time for Ward and other receivers to shine.
So we might have some insight now on Arizona’s kicking situation.— Blake Allen Murphy (@blakemurphy7) July 31, 2021
#16 Tyler Newsome is acting like a kickoff guy (with JoJo Ward returning one of them) booming his leg.
Since Prater hasn’t kicked off in a few years, wonder if they keep him as a specialist…
Antoine Wesley - Wide Receiver
Wesley has lined up exclusively on the right side during training camp and has already made early impressions when Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson were out in COVID protocol.
WR Antoine Wesley has been making the most out of his opportunity to get reps with Andy Isabella and KeeSean Johnson in the COVID protocol. Whether he makes the roster will come down to a numbers game but he’s showing his value during camp, especially at 6-foot-4.— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) July 31, 2021
Kliff Kingsbury wants length in his starting outside receivers. He certainly has that in DeAndre Hopkins (6’1’’ 212lbs) and A.J. Green (6’4’’ 207lbs). Wesley was Kingsbury’s top receiver at Texas Tech where he has 88 receptions, 1,410 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns in 2018. He has the length (6’4’’ 206lbs) and the athletic ability to be a backup receiver on the final roster but he has had trouble staying healthy in his time in the NFL.
Andre Baccellia - Wide Receiver
Baccellia is fast. We are talking 4.28 40 fast. He has made an appearance in an Arizona Cardinals Flight Plan episode and from early impressions, looks like Baccellia is another one of those players that could pose a threat to Isabella’s job security. Very similar athletic ability to Isabella and both are small receivers. Neither are return specialists but have the skills to be one.
Impressing during training camp is one thing and impressing during NFL games is another. We all learned that first hand with cornerback Brandon Williams in 2016. A training camp sensation that was abused during the regular season. Lot of intriguing players on the backend of this 90-man roster that have a legitimate shot at a final roster spot.