’04 has been an impressive class

Posted by Darren Urban on February 8, 2012 – 9:43 am

In the aftermath of the Giants’ Super Bowl win, much has been made already of the legacy of quarterback Eli Manning, whether he is a Hall of Famer already (I say no right now, although he’s certainly putting together that kind of résumé) and where he fits among the pecking order of today’s QBs. That’s all well and good, but from my perspective, any time I think of Manning I think of what would have happened had McCown-to-Poole not shocked the Vikings. Is Manning a Cardinal?

It’s a moot point, of course, but that line of thinking took me to yet another place this morning: The impact of that 2004 draft class. Most of the time, the top half of the first round provides as many busts as success stories. It sure seems, eight seasons in, that the 2004 first round was better than most, at least in those top 16 picks.

There was Manning going first. The Raiders took tackle Robert Gallery next, and while he hasn’t been a Pro Bowler, he developed into a pretty solid NFL guard (now playing in Seattle). Larry Fitzgerald went third, QB Philip Rivers fourth. S Sean Taylor went to the Redskins, and he was becoming a star before his tragic murder. TE Kellen Winslow has been solid if not spectacular playing for bad teams in Cleveland and Tampa.

There were also cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall (8) and Dunta Robinson (10), Big Ben at 11, LB Jonathan Vilma (12) and Pro Bowl linemen Tommie Harris (a DT at 14) and Shaun Andrews (a T at 16). It was the receivers, other than Fitz, that put the dent in the group, since Roy Williams (7), Reggie Williams (9), Lee Evans (13) and Mark Clayton (15) all fizzled to a point, although Roy W. and Evans have been OK (well, at least until Evans dropped the Ravens’ chance to be in the Super Bowl.)

That first round also produced NT Vince Wilfork, RB Steven Jackson and LB Jason Babin.

It is also arguably the Cards’ best draft ever, with Fitz, Karlos Dansby, Darnell Dockett and Antonio Smith. All but Dansby have appeared in a Pro Bowl. (In 2001, the Cards got Leonard Davis, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Adrian Wilson and 10-year DB Renaldo Hill; in 1979 the Cards, with 12 picks, ended up with RB Ottis Anderson, T Joe Bostic and WR/DB Roy Green — and future baseball star Kirk Gibson, as a Michigan State WR, although obviously Gibson didn’t come to the NFL.)

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26 Responses to “’04 has been an impressive class”

  1. By Gilbert carpet cleaning on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I did not know that we had Kyle Vanden Bosch, when did we get rid of him and for whom? But yea that was a great class for the Cards. But whenever I think of a draft we missed on I cant help but think of the fact that we passed up on Adrian Peterson. I hate looking into the past but with the Cards Superbowl run I cant help but think that would have made us champs, oh well I guess we still got Larry and Dockett.

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Gilbert —

    RE: Vanden Bosch

    Kyle played here from 2001-2004. He was allowed to leave as a free agent. He had blown out his ACL twice and at that point, the Cards were unsure he’d ever get back to his ability.

  3. By Peter on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Larry FitzJesus!!!

  4. By Will on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    It’s amazing how even with all the work done by professional scouts and coaching staffs that there is still a roughly 50-50 shot on just about anybody. There was no guarantee that Larry was going to be a stud, especially Eli Manning with the way he struggled early in his career- in the words of Kurt Warner “The worst QB play I’d ever seen”.

    Very interesting that Kirk Gibson was drafted by the Cards, granted they weren’t in Arizona in 1979 but it’s still interesting. Nicely done Darren.

  5. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    1983 NFL draft will always be the best to me. Not only the QBs (Marino, Elway. Kelly. Obrien, Blackledge and Eason) but also Richard Dent, Craig Kubiak, Tim Krumrie, Jesse Sapulo, Karl Mecklenburg,, etc.. were drafted after the 7th round – something that doesn’t exist today.
    Isn’t it true the Cardinals also drafted Joe Namath and ESPN’s Lee Corso?

  6. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Draft picks

    Joe Namath was their first-round pick in 1965, 12th overall. He chose instead to sign with the AFL’s Jets.

    Lee Corso was chosen in the 29th round in 1957, 345th overall.

    A side Namath QB note: The Cards have taken just five quarterbacks with their first round pick since 1960: George Izo in 1960, Namath, Steve Pisarkiewicz in 1977, Kelly Stouffer in 1987, and Matt Leinart in 2006.

  7. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    But with the good come the bad.
    2009 2nd round pick Cody Brown released by the Lions yesterday after being cut by the Jets before.
    And of course, Kelly Stouffer who never played a down for the Cards. (Must be the Namath curse.)

  8. By Storm Byrd on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t think Eli Manning would have been a Card. We all seem to forget the prima donna Eli was with his John Elway like shenanigans. “I’m a manning, my brother is great, my father is a legend, so I get to choose where I go.” I don’t think he would have seen the Cards as good enough to have a Manning, the Chargers certainly weren’t.

  9. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Speaking of Eli being a HOF, (I say no, also) a topic yesterday was Warner agreeing and the ensuing discussion of whether Kurt belonged.
    It’s what, Darren, 3 years down the road? Does Warner belong? First ballot?

  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Warner

    I do think Kurt is a Hall of Famer. First ballot? Depends on the class when he is going in.

  11. By Ben on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, that is crazy that it was from ’87 to ’06…Didn’t realize that. Great info D.Urb….keep it coming.

  12. By kevin on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    When we first drafted Kyle had high hopes but the years he was with us he was injured.

    Kurt Warner “The worst QB play I’d ever seen”

    Can’t see Kurt saying that maybe about Shelton but not Manning.

  13. By Brian on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren –

    Speaking of past drafts, do you know why the Cardinals did not have a 1st round pick in 1990? I was looking back at the different drafts, and noticed this omission. It doesn’t appear that they traded the pick to anyone…just looks like they weren’t awarded a pick.


  14. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Brian —

    RE: 1990 first-rounder

    They lost that pick when they spent a first-rounder in the supplemental draft taking QB Timm Rosenbach.

  15. By DontTakeLoses on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    All I can think about is Polian, Whiz, Reich and…Manning to AZ, a la Warner…

    Git ‘er done. Btw, love Kolb and Skelton. But Manning best I ever saw.

    Go Cards.

  16. By D on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Eli would have cried his way out of here like he did SD. Who knows, we may have had a better draft class if that would have happened…I don’t see the Cards getting Peyton just because they hired this new WR coach. I don’t see how they could fit him under the cap with all of the other players to resign or extend.

    My guess for Peyton next year would be:
    1) Miami –owner will pay crazy $ to sell seats. They have a decent WR there and a decent defense. Peyton owns a house in FL.
    2) Washington–again, owner will pay crazy $ and Peyton would love to play his brother twice a year.

  17. By in fitz we trust on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    props to dennis green. what about wendell byant, he was a bust lol

  18. By joe67 on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I remember Namath going to the Jets over Cards. Signed, I think for 100k. (Is that correct Darren?) I said good! Nobody worth 100k to play football!!!!
    My, my, haven’t times changed??!
    We had a good young team right after that. You just wonder, what if??!

  19. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    joe67 —

    RE: Namath price

    Yes, I believe that was the amount. A long, long time ago.

  20. By Brian on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    look at that old uniform haha.

  21. By Eazy E on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply


    You gotta admit, not a great decision to let go of Vanden Bosch even with the acl tears, because he was very young and like 90-95% of those come back even stronger.

  22. By brad oneill on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    kurt took two horrible teams to the superbowl and won it with one of them. yes he is a hall of famer. not to mention his performances in those super bowls. top 3 passing performances of all time. can you be any more hall worthy than having the best 3 games in the championship game.

  23. By John the Draft Guy on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Not to mention first rounders Will Smith, Chris Gamble, and DJ Williams.

    Matt Schaub was a third rounder, Jared Allen was a forth rounder, Michael Turner( 5th) Bob Sanders (2nd), Shawn Phillips (4th) and Nick Hardwick(3rd).
    It was a great draft to turn around a team.

    That’s how you build a team. Through a couple of good drafts.

  24. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Ottis who? 😉

  25. By Eric on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    Draft Bust: 1997 Tommy Knight. Wow what a bust.

  26. By Scott H on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    Ya know what? If we went back in time and could do that draft again, I would absolutely still want the Cards to take Fitzgerald at #3. No doubt about it. Thank you, Dennis Green for a truly lasting gift to this team.

    PS – Fitz looks so much cooler with the long dreads.

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