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Cardinals Notebook: Three Rookies Sign, LB Jessie Lemonier Claimed

Arizona Cardinals draft picks Trey McBride, Chris Matthew and Marquis Hayes signed their first NFL contracts.

Arizona Cardinals draft picks tight end Trey McBride, cornerback Chris Matthew and guard Marquis Hayes are all under contract.

The trio signed four-year deals on Tuesday, the team announced. 

Six of Arizona's eight draftees have since signed, including running back Keaontay Ingram, guard Lecitus Smith and linebacker Jesse Luketa. That leaves edge rushers Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders unsigned. 

The Cardinals selected McBride in the second round of the draft out of Colorado State. 

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury got him on the field during rookie minicamp last weekend and told reporters on Friday that McBride is a smooth route-runner. 

McBride was as eager as rookies come to get started.

"It was just a dream come true, this was exactly what I wanted to be," McBride said. "Like I said, I, I've trained here, this is where I did my pre-Combine stuff . . . just really fell in love with this place."

Matthew was a seventh-round selection from Valdosta State. 

His football career nearly ended when he had a chance to interview for a managerial position at a Walmart after his 2020 season was canceled. 

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He kept his dream alive, though, and hearing his name called in the draft was vindication. 

"No matter what happens moving forward, I can always tell my kids, kids in the neighborhood that I got drafted," Matthew said Friday. "So that that phone call definitely changed my life."

Rookie minicamp wrapped up over the weekend. Seven of the eight were in action during open media availability on Friday, excluding Thomas who is dealing with a hamstring issue.  

Cardinals claim Jesse Lemonier

Arizona was awarded its waiver claim on former Detroit Lions linebacker Jesse Lemonier and released defensive lineman LaRon Stokes on Tuesday. Stokes had been signed after the draft as an undrafted free agent.

Lemonier played seven games last season, primarily on the edge. He had a pair of sacks in 161 snaps and adds further depth to a unit that has a lot of youth after the draft.

The 25-year-old went undrafted in 2020 and signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. He played in six games as a rookie. 

Cardinals rated highly on Football Power Index

The Cardinals are viewed favorably by ESPN's Football Power Index, which approximates how much better or worse a team is predicted to be against an average NFL team on a neutral site.

The Cardinals at plus-4.1 are ninth in the league and fifth in the NFC, behind the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys:

The Cardinals looked like a strong contender last season before falling apart down the stretch, but they still have a solid roster and Kyler Murray under center.