With the NFL draft scheduled to start Thursday evening, it’s a good time to take a look at the Cardinals first round history over the last decade. The Cardinals will be selecting fifth overall – the highest selection the team has had since 2007 when the team picked tackle Levi Brown from Penn State.
Since 1960, the Cardinals have NEVER had the first overall pick in the draft, although the team did exercise its first-round pick in the 1990 Supplemental draft on quarterback Timm Rosenbach of Washington State.
Here’s a look at the Cardinals first-round picks over the last 10 years:
- 2000 Thomas Jones, RB, Virginia (7th overall) – Played three seasons with the Cardinals rushing for 1,264 yards and 9 touchdowns. Traded to Tampa Bay in 2003. Still active in the NFL, most recently with Kansas City. Has rushed for more than 10,000 yards and 68 touchdowns.
- 2001 Leonard Davis, G, Texas (2nd overall) – Played six seasons in Arizona before signing with Dallas as a free agent in 2006. Subsequently went to the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
- 2002 Wendell Bryant, DT, Wisconsin (12th overall) – Played three seasons with the Cardinals. He was suspended for the 2005 season after committing a third strike in the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and never returned to the league.
- 2003 Bryant Johnson, WR, Penn State (17th overall) – During his five-year Cardinals career he caught 210 passes for 2675 yards and 9 TDs. Signed with the 49ers as a free agent in 2008.
- 2003 Calvin Pace, DE, Wake Forest (18th overall) – In five seasons in Arizona, Pace played in 67 games with 38 starts recording 186 tackles, 14 sacks and 11 passes deflected. In 2008, Pace left the Cardinals and signed as a free agent with the New York Jets.
- 2004 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pittsburgh (3rd overall) – Easily one of the best picks in the history of the Cardinal franchise. Fitzgerald has set numerous team records, been selected to four straight Pro Bowl games and is considered one of the best receivers in the NFL. Fitzgerald teamed with Kurt Warner frequently in 2008 season that saw the Cardinals appear in the team’s first Super Bowl.
- 2005 Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami (8th) – Rolle played in 68 games for the Cardinals between 2005 and 2009. He had 12 interceptions during his time in Arizona and returned four of the picks for touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009. In March, 2010 the Cardinals released Rolle to avoid paying a $4 million roster bonus. He signed with the New York Giants the next day. Rolle earned a second Pro Bowl appearance for his 2010 season.
- 2006 Matt Leinart, QB, USC (10th) – Played four seasons for the Cardinals, who drafted the former Heisman Trophy quarterback with much anticipation. Leinart could not fill the shoes of future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner. After throwing 11 touchdowns in 12 games his rookie year, Leinart only managed three more from 2007 through 2009. Leinart was released in the final cutdown before the start of the 2010 NFL season.
- 2007 Levi Brown T, Penn State (5th) – Still an active player on the Cardinals roster, Brown scored his first career touchdown in 2010 falling on a Max Hall fumble in the end zone against the Saints.
- 2008 D. Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tenn. St. (16th) – In three seasons with the Cardinals, Rodgers-Cromartie has returned four of his 13 interceptions for touchdowns. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010. In just three seasons, he has compiled 126 tackles and has three blocked field goals.
- 2009 Beanie Wells, RB, Ohio State (31st) – Another first round draft pick who caused great enthusiasm among team officials and the local fan base. Wells showed late-season promise in 2009 (seven touchdowns) but was hampered by injuries in 2010 (two touchdowns). In his two seasons with the Cardinals, Wells has rushed for 1,190 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
- 2010 Dan Williams, DT, Tennessee (26th) – Played in 15 games as a rookie, and gained more playing time as the season progressed. Williams had 33 tackles over the final 10 games after recording four tackles in his first five games. Finished the season with 37 tackles, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. The Cardinals coaching staff is anticipating a lot of growth from their 2010 first round selection.
The Cardinals will be selecting fifth overall in this week’s NFL draft.