Mature Watford ready to fight at guard

Last year, Earl Watford spent his rookie season learning how to be an offensive lineman in the NFL.

As he enters his second year, he’s ready to show how he's grown.

Almost a year since he was drafted in the fourth round out of James Madison, the 6-foot-4, 295-pound guard feels more comfortable and confident on the field, a result of spending hours watching veterans like Eric Winston, Lyle Sendlein and Daryn College bring their lunch pails to work every day.

“I’ve seen it. I’ve done it. I’ve been through it,” Watford said. “I feel a lot more confident than I did last year, a lot more comfortable with the plays and the guys around me. It’s a good thing to have.”

After a productive offseason thus far, Watford is “very ready” to compete with Paul Fanaika to be the Cardinals’ starting right guard. With offseason conditioning and meetings with coaches starting last week, Watford wants to build on what he accomplished in the past year.

But as often as he’s been penciled in as the starter at right guard, that doesn’t mean the job is his.

“I have to earn it,” Watford said. “There’s a lot of people fighting for that guard spot. Just if people want to go out there and pick Paul or me or Ted (Larsen) or whoever else to be the starter, they can do that.

“There won’t be a starter picked until near the season. There’s a lot of competition for that guard spot. You got to fight for it. I’m just going out there to do what im supposed to do, work hard and earn it.”