Trey McBride is thrilled to be in Arizona, where he'd hoped to be drafted. Zach Ertz oozes positivity and is willing to help the rookie tight end, being a veteran with NFL experience and a Super Bowl championship.
It feels like an ideal situation for everyone involved over at Arizona Cardinals headquarters, where this week, McBride and Ertz took part in their first on-field workouts as teammates during voluntary organized team activities.
"Yeah, he's a tight end who's played in this league for a long time. And most of all, he's been around, and he knows how to do it the right way," McBride said of Ertz. "So I'm excited to pick his brain a little bit and just kind of be a sponge. I want to soak everything in that I can from him, and not only him, but just other guys on the team. It's really cool just to be around guys like that, who's played for so long, and just to learn and pick their brain a little bit and get knowledge out of them."
Ertz and McBride caught passes in practice together on Monday. Ertz said McBride is quiet and as of Monday he still was trying to get a feel for his new teammate, but that he is ready to work with the rookie.
"He's a talented player. You see he's got all the tools to be a good tight end and I'm here to help him be the best version of himself," Ertz said. "I feel like I'm open book for guys that are willing to work. Whatever. If anyone asks me a question, I'm always going to give them how I view that situation. ... Everything that I do is not going to be exactly for him, but I'm excited to work with him."
Ertz has been in McBride's situation. The three-time Pro Bowler was a rookie out of Stanford in 2013, like McBride a second-round pick. The two veteran tight ends in Philly that helped guide Ertz that season were Brent Celek and James Casey.
Celek didn't tell Ertz what he needed to do specifically, but he set an example with how he went about his business every day, Ertz said. From Celek, Ertz learned the mentality of playing tight end.
Casey did a lot of extra work, things like watching film before dawn.
"It took a village. I didn't accomplish this by myself. There were a lot of great people that helped me along the way. And those two guys were two of them," Ertz said. "I mean, I'm not going to be there like holding someone's hand, but if someone wants to work, and someone asks me a question or just wants to train with me, I'm more than open to doing that. And that's what I love about the NFL. It's bringing people together from so many different backgrounds, fighting for one common goal, and that's to win a Super Bowl."
Ertz's advice to rookies like McBride? Play fast.
"If you make a mistake, do it 1,000 miles an hour, because at least you're showcasing your skill set, your physical skill set. But when you're playing slow, then people are just going to start questioning your ability as a player and you can't be having guys do that," Ertz said.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Ertz will embrace the mentorship role, without a doubt.
"I mean, all you have to do is watch him work every day, watch the time he gets up here, watch the attention to detail in practices, in meetings, all these things," Kingsbury said. "I can't imagine a better guy to learn from."
McBride is eager to prove himself.
"I know I've got a lot to prove and I've got to earn that respect from my teammates, and that's something I'm willing and excited to do," McBride said.
Cards sign third-rounder Thomas
The Cardinals on Wednesday announced the signing of their third-round draft pick this year, linebacker Cameron Thomas, to a four-year contract.
Thomas, out of San Diego State, was the last member of the Cardinals' 2022 Draft class to sign with the team. All eight players chosen are under contract.
Thomas played 36 games his collegiate career and had 155 tackles, 21 sacks, three pass breakups and one forced fumble. Last season he had 71 tackles, 20½ tackles for loss, 11½ sacks and 21 quarterback hurries. The tackles for loss tied the Mountain West Conference single-season record and his sack total led the league last year.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Cardinals have experience, potential at tight end with Ertz, McBride