Suggs’ near-miss in the desert

Posted by Darren Urban on January 30, 2013 – 10:41 am

It seems now a lifetime ago, a few years before the Cardinals would even move into their new stadium and the culture shift within the organization just beginning to take root. But the Cardinals had a high pick — sixth overall — in the 2003 draft, a need for a pass rusher and a local kid who dominated on the college level who wanted very much to play for the home team. It seemed logical that the Cards would end up with Terrell Suggs.

They didn’t, of course. The Cards instead made a trade with the Saints, swapping the first-round pick for the Saints’ two first-rounders (17 and 18) and the teams also swapped second-round picks. That actually moved the Cards lower in that round as well. In the end, the Saints took defensive lineman Johnathan Sullivan, who was a wash-out. The Cardinals took defensive end Calvin Pace and wide receiver Bryant Johnson, each of whom had limited success (although Pace to parlay a decent 2007 season into a big free-agent contract with the Jets.) Of course, the Cards’ draft was made that year when, with the second-round pick, they took wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who performed like a first-rounder from jump.

Meanwhile, Suggs, who had 24 sacks in his final season at Arizona State, was taken 10th, by the Baltimore Ravens. That turned out pretty well for both him and the Ravens, and now he finds himself in the Super Bowl for the first time. That doesn’t mean the near miss with the Cardinals doesn’t still resonate, however.

“I was disappointed because I did want to play at home,” Suggs said during media day Tuesday on the Cards passing on him, “but it worked out better for everybody.”

Suggs began his prep career at Chandler High School a few miles from the Cardinals’ facility, eventually transferring to new (and burgeoning football powerhouse) Chandler Hamilton High School where he starred as both a defensive end and running back. Then he went to ASU where he dominated. The Cardinals were still battling perception around the league as a franchise, but Suggs wanted to stay right where he had made a name for himself.

The trade didn’t come out of nowhere — rumors of the Saints deal were floating around a day or two before the draft commenced — but it did leave an impact locally. Obviously, in hindsight, Pace (or even Pace plus Johnson) didn’t equal Suggs. On the flip side, no one would have guessed that day the Cards would have actually reached the Super Bowl before the Suggs-infused Ravens. (From the file of storylines-that-could-have-been: The Ravens and Suggs lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship the year the Cards made it to the Super Bowl.)

“We had a hint that they might do (a trade), but I was thinking that they wouldn’t,” Suggs said. “I wasn’t surprised, but like I said, it was a rumor that they might do it so it didn’t catch me all off-guard. I was disappointed when they did, but like I said, that was 10 years ago and it all worked out for the best now.”


Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “Suggs’ near-miss in the desert”

  1. By Sundevil1982 on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Imagine Dockett and Suggs on the same team

  2. By clssylssy on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    LoL…The more things change the more they stay the same. Seems the only consistency with the Cards is being a day late and many dollars short! Good luck to T-sizzle, Q, and the Ravens! LOVE you guys, my other bird team!

  3. By D on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Sounds just like Burfict…both troubled players, both played well on the field and both play positions in which the Cards have need….who’s to say if they would have stayed clear of problems off the field if drafted by AZ….I am sure it would have been much more work to get rid of their crews if they would have stayed here locally…

  4. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Suggs and Burfect

    While Suggs did have an issue with a fight right before that draft, what Suggs was like in college and what Burfect was like wasn’t even close. The biggest “red flag” for Suggs coming out — if you even want to call it that — was slightly slower than expected in his 40 times.

  5. By Bill L on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    WOW! Says A LOT about the Cards………….with NO scouting staff…….would anyone trade the #1 rated pass rusher/DE/OLB for the #5 rated DE and the #3 rated WR?

    I’ve Learned/Believe there are 3 KEY positions…….QB, LT and PASS Rusher….you can’t play arround with those positions or you end up …….well, the Cards.

    If I were interviewing a GM candidate……I would have him list the criticality of all positions and have him defend that list. Our front office was part of the regime that got us here…….and it scares the heck out of me.

    I heard a quote from Bill Walsh once that you don’t take a wr UNTIL all other positions are set………I suspect Walsh could quite easily list the relative values of all positions and put a numerical value on them.

    Well, here we are in 2013 with NO LT…….maybe NO QB(Although I think Kolb is better than anyone in the draft)…………with any luck a true LT will be there at 7……..what’cha gonna do………what’cha gonna do?

  6. By Mike G on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! This is the one pick that I think the Card’s missed on. Suggs being a local guy could have really fit in here. He wanted to play here and is very talented. He would have stepped right in and helped the team. I hope Baltimore takes the Suoer Bowl mainly because of Boldin and Suggs. I think John Harbaugh has payed more of a price as a coach then his brother– in losing a couple AFC Championship games–would love to see him get over the hump. This is history though–2 brothers coaching against each other in a bowl–good stuff!!! Hey Darren–What is your opinion on the Super Bowl being played outside in New York next year??? Cold weather venue–Certainly different then New Orleans!! Good move by the NFL or not????

  7. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: New York

    We will see.

  8. By D on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    sounds like you watched a few games at Chandler Darren….wasn’t Bob F the GM then or was it Graves in that draft?

    Cards need to get some cap relief by March…even if they do, I don’t see them cutting Kolb with his cap hit..he will be on the team…I would rather see them draft a QB in round 2 to coach up than go out and pay 7-9 million to a A. Smith or M. Flynn…hopefully those two, along with Vick may fill some other teams needs who are looking for QB’s that are ahead of the Cards in the draft….KC, PHilly…etc…

  9. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    D —

    RE: 2003

    Fergie was gone by then, I believe. Graves was in charge, basically. No GM — his title was VP of football operations.

  10. By Dan on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I was shocked when we didn’t draft Suggs. Just another long line of draft busts by the Cardinals. Put me in charge of the draft, I know I can do better.

  11. By georgiebird on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Failure to choose Suggs hurts in one big way. He could have been the Cardinals’ defender to make that one big stop against the Steelers at the end of SB XLIII.
    That’s really all that counts about our failure to take Suggs who was a questionable character guy as he entered the draft.

  12. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Super Bowl

    It’s one thing to talk about drafting the guy or talking about vague impact. But there’s no way to know if Suggs would have still been around in 2008. Or what the “butterfly effect” would have been had he been. If Suggs is there, maybe the Cards win an extra game or two in 2003. Maybe they don’t pick third, don’t get Fitz, he doesn’t blow up in the 2008 playoffs, and the Cards never make the Super Bowl.

    Impossible to know.

  13. By cfrederi on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Same thing with the 2007 draft when we took Levi Brown with the 5th pick and Minnesota took Adrian Peterson with the 7th pick. We all know how that worked out.

  14. By Voice of Reason on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Once again another bumble from the king of bumbling himself, Rod Graves. One of those days you don’t forget.

    I was at the Cards’ draft party at Jackson’s on Third downtown. The crowd was pretty excited – the Cards had a high pick and had finished off the previous season with the McCown to Poole touchdown to beat Minnesota. Now we were primed to take Suggs and single handedly improve an anemic pass rush. Everyone also knew that we needed serious WR help (as Poole/Kasper combo didn’t scare anyone).

    So the trade happens, and everyone at the party with an IQ north of about 75 knew what the Cards had in mind. With the two picks, they would ensure themselves of getting Bryant Johnson (nice route runner that could last to the second round pick, but might not) and Jerome McDougle, who some thought (incorrectly, as it turned out) was as good a pass rush prospect as Suggs.

    Then something happened that EVERYONE recognized was possible except Graves: Philadelphia moves up to take McDougle at 15. And the place went silent. What the heck do the Cards do now?

    Panicked, they take Johnson at 17, and then take Pace, a third round prospect, at 18. We all went numb.

    Now, in the Cards defense, the rest of that draft was pretty good: Boldin, G. Hayes, R. Wells, and Tony Gilbert (who started some games at MLB for the Panthers).

    But overall – it is another piece of evidence to show that Rod Graves might have been the least intelligent GM to ever hold the title in the NFL.

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Voice —

    RE: Clarification

    The McCown-to-Poole pass vs Minny came at the end of the 2003 season, ensuring the Cards wouldn’t get the No. 1 overall pick but third, where they took Fitz.

    The season finale to the 2002 season (prior to the 2003 draft) was a 37-7 drubbing in Denver as the Cards lost nine of their last 10 following a 4-2 start in Jake Plummer’s final year in Az.

  16. By Mark in Chandler on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I began following the Cards in 2004 when I moved to the valley. Having moved from Steeler country and Penn State country I have been baffled by the tone of many posts on fan websites. Unless the Cards are in the super bowl it seems like everyone thinks the worst thing is to be a Cards fan, as if we get some morbid delight from decrying how horrible the organization is. Now maybe that is a self defense mechanism for the decades of futility and “frugal” management or maybe a defense against getting let down, but sometimes it just seems way too extreme. Comments like “Just another long line of draft busts by the Cardinals” or “why doesn’t Bidwill just sell the team so we can get an owner who cares” or “same old Cardinals.”

    Although I had some years with Green, I became an ardent fan in the Whizenhunt-UofP stadium era so I realize I do not have the scares of many decades but sometimes it seems like we want to wallow in our own freakish misery and that keeps us from actually seeing reality. Even some of the “talking heads” (are you listening Bickley) seem to enjoy speaking of gloom and doom instead of how things really are.

    Here are some realities as I see them. 1-Michael Bidwill does care- alot. Ask all of the coaches who came in here to interview and you will hear the same story. He is not cheep. He spends more on coaches than the vast majority of the league. He has great facilities. He spends on salary to the cap. When we fans complain about how cheep the Bidwills are it just makes the person look bad because it isn’t real . 2-Steve Keim is a good player-personell guy and the Cards have drafted well for the past decade. I keep a chart of every draft pick and after 3 years in the league I go back and grade them. The Cards do quite well in comparison to other teams, even chanmpionship teams. They have not had a long string of busts- quite the opposite. As we approach the draft please don’t start saying how stupid the Cards are if they do this or that. They are not and have not been stupid. 3-( One other one and that will due for now although I could go on.) The Cards have talent, they have a lot of talent. They just don’t excell at the QB spot which is a pretty big position I grant you. But QB position aside, they are more talented at all other positions than most of the league. Even the OTs improved to the point where I would be comfortable with Massie and Potter starting next year.

    I am not saying there isn’t room for imporvement with the Cards- obviously there is- but lets not turn every flaw into a negative superlative. When we keep things in proportion and balance and see things as they really are, we all look smarter and more informed.

  17. By Chris on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Great post, man! I couldn’t agree with you more.

  18. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Yes, It was Graves first draft.

    And it is easy to look back and say he blew it with Suggs, But you have to , at the same time, give him credit for the nice find in the second. A very slow (4.7 – 40) wr from Florida St named Anquan Boldin.

    Just a couple other notes of that year’s draft;

    We took Gerald Hayes in the 3rd, who played 8 years for the Cards at MLB. Unfortunately, the two picks right before us were the Cowboys taking Witten and the Bears taking Briggs.

    The trade also took away our 4th round pick. Hindsight I know, but in the 4th, both Asante Samual and Ike Taylor were there for a team who needed CBs.

    We also found long time guard Reggie Wells in the 6th.

    Pace / Johnson
    Kenny King ( good player who could not stay healthy)
    Reggie Wells
    Tony Gilbert

    Finding 5 starters in a draft is good. But , oh what could have been. I wonder if they knew they were going to grab Fitz the next year if they make that trade?

    Got to love hindsight.

  19. By mike hadzinski on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    I WILL Never Forget how EVERY1 @ North high made FUN OF ME & MY CARDINALS COME MONDAY.ON HOW THEY EARNED A F- gradewise .LOL WOW 10 yrs Ago seems like it was yesterday..Damn only Q Still plays from that class

  20. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,IMO, the “culture change” started with the former QB, Anquan Bolden, followed the next season by Fitz.

    But then, no one’s perfect.

  21. By Steve on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: In your opinion what are the chances that the Cards draft a QB in the 1st round? Maybe Geno Smith of WVU.

  22. By Darren Urban on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: QB in first

    Right now, given what’s out there, I say doubtful. But there’s a long time between now and then.

  23. By Safety Guy on Jan 30, 2013 | Reply

    Ahhhhh memories ….Jake the Snake and the Cardiac Cardinals what a time to bring the cards fans together. That was the first time we packed up the family and drove an hour to meet the plane at Sky Harbor after a road win. What a night! Fun to be a Cards fan since they first came. Still got the Phoenix Cardinals ball cap.

    Thanks for the post/reply about Jake and his 4-1 start to Voice. In all tough times and good times, to the disappointment of my wife. Still a Cards fan.

    Oh and by the way… the potty mouth on the video pod casts! 🙂
    Ya might give Wolf ideas. Don’t get him started

  24. By Darren Urban on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Safety —

    RE: Potty mouth

    I only said damn. The great Tim DeLaney’s video mastery just made it look a lot worse.

  25. By Jason Marcus on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Cmon, Suggs a questionable character guy, arent we all questionable Darren ? I mean come on people.

  26. By Brandon on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren, do you think Reggie bush might come to arizona? Also what if we gave the ravens a 4,5th draft pick for tyrod taylor? Even though he is unproven I think he could be good. What do you think Darren?

    Than you

  27. By Darren Urban on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Brandon —

    RE: Bush/Taylor

    I don’t see Bush and I’m not trading for a completely unproven Taylor.

  28. By GMAN on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    Cardinals Underground should always be on video.Great job!

  29. By Eazy E on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Boy don’t we all wish hindsight was more like foresight. Turned out to be a horrible move personnel wise.

  30. By Dynosoar on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Mark in Chandler,

    You are spot on!

    We have a great team that for whatever reason has suffered from QB play (play calling, O-line, lack of running game due to huge injuries, QB play, a combination of the afforementioned).

    We fix the QB conundrum and we have a playoff team. I believe there were several coaches that could have done this and I do believe that Arians is one who can and will.

    I trust in Michael Bidwill. We have a team that Larry Fitzgerald, one who could go anywhere, wants to play for. He wants to retire a Cardinals player. That speaks volumes about this organization.

    I’m a Cardinals fan through and through and while life can be rough at times, I’m a fan and always will be and no, my team doesn’t have to be the best every year. If it was, no one else in the country could be happy with their team.

    Although, I would like more wins.

    Whizenhunt left us in a good position, he upgraded in every available area except QB and who else predicted the success of some of the diamonds in the rough (R. Wilson), no one, so how was Whiz supposed to know. Arians has inherited a team that has steadily improved at every position, now let’s see what improvements he can make from here. We’re playoff bound.

    1st – E. Lacy RB
    2nd – T. Wilson or L. Jones QB
    the rest, I’m o.k. with whomever.

  31. By Jason on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    You’re as awesome fan….but, completely delusional if you think Lacy is a top ten draft pick. He’ll be lucky if he even goes in the first round.

  32. By Safety Guy on Jan 31, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks for clarifying. Good video though
    Still…don’t get wolf going!

Post a Comment

%d bloggers like this: