Unlike many of his teammates, quarterback John Skelton has stayed at the Arizona Cardinals' practice facility in Tempe to continue working with the coaching staff. In the process, Skelton has managed to keep his mind on football and prepare for training camp more efficiently. Although he will return to New York for a short break before reporting with the rest of the team in in late July, Skelton's dedication has already been on display in Arizona.
"I figured being a quarterback you need to put in that extra work to do everything you can to put yourself in a position to play," the El Paso native said.
The Cardinals thought highly enough of Skelton that they traded veteran cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in order to move up and select Skelton with the 155th overall pick in Round 5.
Skelton (6-foot-5, 244 lbs) has ideal size to thrive under center in the NFL and arguably the strongest arm in this year's draft class. He was certainly a "big fish" at Fordham, where he set six school records and led the FCS in passing yards per game and total passing yards in 2009. A starter since he was a freshman, Skelton threw for nearly 10,000 yards, 64 touchdowns and ran for another 14 scores in his four-year collegiate career.
Skelton is expected to back-up starter Matt Leinart and second stringer Derek Anderson during his rookie campaign. His largest competition this year will take place against undrafted free agent Max Hall for the third spot on the depth chart. After the Cardinals drafted Skelton, quarterbacks coach Chris Miller said the small-school prospect would likely need a couple of seasons to prepare adequately for the NFL.
"I go by based on how comfortable I feel and when that will come," Skelton said. "Just this offseason, from the first minicamp to now everyone leaving and me kind of staying behind, I've learned a lot. I have gone through the playbook and know it pretty well.
Once I am entirely comfortable, that's when I'll start setting goals when I can play."
To make room on the roster, Arizona released safety Herana-Daze Jones. The Cardinals still have their top four draft picks unsigned including linebacker O'Brien Schofield, wide receiver Andre Roberts, linebacker Daryl Washington and defensive tackle Dan Williams. Arizona will attempt to have all of its draft picks signed before the start of training camp on July 30.
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