The Cardinals wouldn’t have drafted linebacker Haason Reddick with the 13th overall pick if they didn’t think he would develop into a starter and key player on their defense.
The timeline for that move didn’t necessarily have Reddick stepping into those roles during his rookie season, but other factors have sped things up. Deone Bucannon had ankle surgery last month and the team said they hope he’s back for the start of the regular season, which leaves a lot of work for Reddick during Organized Team Activities, the mandatory minicamp and beyond.
“It’s just making the process so much faster,” Reddick said, via ESPN.com. “It’s making me have to learn at a faster pace. It’s making me be more accountable earlier. I don’t look at it as a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s something unfortunate that happened to Buc … but it is what it is. Now I have to step up and be able to make the plays, and I have to get ready earlier and start playing like I’m a veteran rather than playing like I’m a rookie.”
Coach Bruce Arians pulled into a bag of well-worn cliches to call the situation “classic Wally Pipp” in reference to the Yankee first baseman who took a day off in 1925 and then watched Lou Gehrig play the next 2,130 games without a break. Making comparisons between Reddick and Gehrig is almost certainly foolish, but an early opportunity to play may turn into a long run with the first team all the same.