Rookie Alex Okafor's season ended before it really began last year.
The Arizona Cardinals linebacker was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. In game three of last season against New Orleans, the University of Texas product tore a biceps tendon and was lost for the season. He finished his rookie campaign with just one tackle.
That was then, this is now. Okafor is working diligently to return to the playing field. As a pass-rushing linebacker he'll be needed to help replace Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby this coming season.
He's keeping a positive attitude about his unlucky rookie season.
“I definitely would have been better off not injured and out there, but on a positive note, if I was going to get hurt, my rookie year is the best time for it to get done,” he said via azcardinals.com. “Essentially, I probably would have been sitting anyway. It was a wasted year, but I took a lot in and learned from some great vets. It made a world of difference.”
Okaforhigh 12.5 sacks during his senior year at Texas. He has a natural ability to rush the quarterback and, if healthy, would be a welcome addition to Arizona's linebacking corps.
Head coach Bruce Arians has been impressed with what he's seen from Okafor so far.
He had an excellent offseason, "Arians stated. "He was the guy we drafted. (Now) I want to see him when the noise level turns up."
Fair enough. Okafor is looking healthy again and ready for the challenge that lies ahead of him.
“A year makes all the difference,” Okafor said. “Not just learning the playbook, but getting comfortable knowing your teammates. I feel like I can finally be myself out on the field. I feel like I have an identity now and I’m not just trying to find myself. That’s the biggest difference. I knew it would just be a matter of time before everything would click and I’d be ready to go. I had no doubt in my mind I could help this team.”Tags: Alex Okafor, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Daryl Washington, Football, Karlos Dansby, NFL