Lasting thoughts from the first

Posted by Darren Urban on April 30, 2014 – 10:54 am

The first Cardinals draft I covered as a beat guy was back in 2001, which just so happened to be the highest pick the Cards have had since I have been around the team — second overall. That’s 13 drafts overall and 14 first-round picks. As the Cards get closer to this year’s draft (jeez, is it ever going to get here?) I thought I’d hit the first-round picks I’ve seen, with both my initial thoughts at the time and what hindsight has brought.

2001: T Leonard Davis. It was a no-brainer. Davis was a sure thing, taken right after Michael Vick. He’d be the 10-year left tackle the Cardinals sought since Lomas Brown had left. Bigg (he went by the nickname “Big” and at some point, started adding an extra “g”) was just that, a mammoth man. Sure, the Cards decided to play him at guard his first season, but that was so he could get used to the game. Dave McGinnis even brought myself and Kent Somers to his office one day to show us Davis manhandling a couple of defenders. I remember him totally rag-dolling Bears safety Mike Brown on one play. Problem was, he never really panned out as a left tackle, even though Denny Green insisted on shoe-horning him there. He was a better guard, and the Cards weren’t going to break the bank on a guard, so he later got big money from the Cowboys. And made the Pro Bowl. As a guard.

2002: DT Wendell Bryant. What I really remember is hearing how then-defensive line coach Joe Greene had been so impressed with Bryant the player and the person during a workout up in Wisconsin. Uh, yeah, not so much. Bryant was a holdout until the regular season started of his rookie year, and he never climbed out of that hole. A total bust.

2003: DE Calvin Pace and WR Bryant Johnson. Ahh, the everyone-assumed-Terrell-Suggs-was-coming-to-the-Cards draft. This was the most surprising first round. The Cards traded down from No. 6 overall, thinking in part they could get DE Jerome McDougle. The Eagles jumped to No. 15 to get McDougle, and the Cards reached for Pace at 17 and then took Johnson at 18. Pace ended up a decent player, although he didn’t really hit his stride until Ken Whisenhunt showed up. This was a thank-goodness-for-Anquan-Boldin-in-the-second-round class.

2004: WR Larry Fitzgerald. And to think, if Josh McCown’s pass falls incomplete, would it have been Eli Manning? Or would Denny Green have made sure Fitz was No. 1 overall?

2005: CB Antrel Rolle. This was pretty straight-forward. Rolle was considered a top-10 talent, the Cards needed a corner. The problem was Rolle came into the league with most assuming he’d be better at safety. He was.

2006: QB Matt Leinart. Green said when the pick was made that Leinart falling to the Cards at 10 was really a “gift from heaven.” Seems really silly now. But it wasn’t at the time. (The Cards likely would have taken Jay Cutler, who went No. 11, if Leinart had been off the board.) Truth be told I thought it was a good pick, and I was convinced he would be that QB the Cards needed after his first two starts, come-from-ahead losses — but not his fault — to Kansas City and Chicago (“We let ’em off the hook!”) Time proved I was way wrong. But it allowed Kurt Warner’s rebirth, so there’s that.

2007: T Levi Brown. The Cards wanted a left tackle. Joe Thomas was already taken. The Cards already had Edgerrin James, so Adrian Peterson didn’t make enough sense. And I’ll move on.

— 2008: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC was odd. He was raw. He was good. He frustrated sometimes, going from Pro Bowl talent to a guy who wouldn’t pay attention in stretches. But it was the right call. If only he hadn’t been the price for Kevin Kolb …

— 2009: RB Beanie Wells: Beanie was never really healthy. A prime example of why teams don’t look to running backs early anymore.

— 2010: NT Dan Williams. Williams has been a starter and has improved. He forms a nice tandem with Alameda Ta’amu. Funny, the biggest thing I remember of when the Cards took him was that Tim Tebow was picked right before him — virtually eliminating any chance he was going to get mentioned on national TV broadcasts.

— 2011: CB Patrick Peterson. Yeah, a good pick. Obvious, but good.

— 2012: WR Michael Floyd. He’s turned into a good player in a short time. He wasn’t the left tackle everyone said they wanted, but he was better than the tackles on the board.

— 2013: G Jonathan Cooper. Coop should turn out to be a wise choice. If any of the big three tackles had been left at No. 7, the Cards probably would have nabbed one, but GM Steve Keim was about best players, and he believes Cooper was that.



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15 Responses to “Lasting thoughts from the first”

  1. By D on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Nothing like going down memory lane. What alot of people forget in that 2004 draft besides Eli, Cards could have draft Big Ben in that draft. As you can see with the 2006 and 2007 first round picks if you miss, it could take 9yrs and counting to recover..

    Now, let’s switch our attention to next week…let me make my case for the following:

    My case on trading for M. Glennon versus drafting a QB next week.

    1-. His size and arm is what BA usually looks for in a QB.

    2- He is on a rookie deal through 2016, meaning he could learn this year behind Palmer and should be ready the following year when Palmer is a free agent.

    3-He is a known quantity. No one knows how good or bad any of this year’s QB will be in the NFL. Glennon has already won in the league.

    He is not a Lovie Smith player, meaning the Bucs are in a position to draft a QB to learn behind J. McCown for one year.

    The Drawback for a potential trade would be the compensation. Due to the fact that he is young and on a cheap deal, TB would probably want a 2nd round pick
    Plus either a player or an additional pick in 2015.

    With the Cards having only 6 picks this year, that would reduce them to 5 picks
    (barring any trade downs in Round 1 to gain additional)

    My solution: Trade this year’s second round pick and R. Williams to TB for M. Glennon.

    (you know Mr. Keim has all of his scouting information being that he came from a certain school)

    If this trade could be completed, my guess at their draft if they stay at #20.

    Round 1- K. Ealy OLB/DE
    Round 3- C. Loston SS
    Round 4- J. Mewhort RT
    Round 5- T. Hart DE
    Round 6- X. Grimble TE

  2. By Andy Kw on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    This is a dumb decision man. I love QB Mike Glennon as a QB but this team should not risk so much on him. We traded CB DRC & a 2nd Round Pick for QB Kevin Kolb. What happened there? I don’t think this team is willing to forfeit so much.
    We need a starting Strong Safety with the height and bulk to do it. Craig Loston is a developmental guy that can’t start on day 1. Deone Bucannon is the way to go. We trade down to attain more picks is more like it. I am fine with K. Ealy but I feel that we can get help further down the draft.

  3. By georgiebird on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    The most interesting “pearl” in the article covering 13 years:-
    that Dave McG called you and Kent Somers into his office to review tape of Big Davis. That’s some heavy stuff. You were just a pup then.
    Can no longer believe that you aren’t one of the “go to” guys around there.

  4. By D on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    M. Glennon > K. Kolb
    S. Keim > R. Graves

    “The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.”

    Thomas A. Edison

  5. By iammattyoung on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    The Cards have a chance to get to a Super Bowl this year, and they need to use all of their draft picks to fill the big holes on this team: pass rusher and safety. That being said, planning for the future is big. In my opinion, the dream scenario would be for one of the top 8 teams in the draft to trade up for the Cards first rounder to nab a QB. That would likely net us a high second round pick, a high third rounder, and possibly a fourth or a fifth. In the case of Glennon, I think that we could get him for a similar deal: Glennon + swapping our second rounder for their third.

  6. By erik on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    The Cardinals had the chance and did not draft Glennon. And they definitely did their homework on him. Now the team that did pick him is ready to move on before his second season? Why would the Cards make a move for him? People are just trying to stir the pot in this quiet news period.

  7. By D on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Have to drum up something…I am Mocked out…if that is a word…

  8. By iammattyoung on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Word, erik. Word.

  9. By j on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    palmer the QB and that’s it for that, Palmer is a Great QB under BA and will pass Warner as top cards QB, thanks for that, so tired of the Warner rants… Safety is what we need then OLB then a TE, def and off line their after… Maybe next year draft a qb under palmer, Palmer has three solid years left if the team thrives on the line, and during those three years, 2 will have rings!!!

  10. By ored on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    glennon might be another option instead of using a pick on one,but not by giving up a pick,trading our 2nd for their 3rd sounds good,or even our 1st for their 2nd and swap places in the 3rd and 4th,since they pick much earlier than we do each round,each pick of theirs would almost be like a late pick from the previous round.we get a developement qb without losing any picks and get to move up positionally in rounds 3 and4 and the difference between our 1st and their 2nd is not so great,but it might put them in a pretty good spot for their qb pick,sounds like a win-win.

  11. By Scott H on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Geez…other than Fitz in 2004, not a lot of lasting impact from our first round picks. I’m surprised that for 2003, there was no mention of the fact that a guy named Anquan Boldin was taken in the 2ND round. Few players have ever had more of an impact than he did.

    But 2 of the last 3 first rounders are off to GREAT starts and Cooper might fall right in line with that trend this year. Looking forward to it.

  12. By Darren Urban on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: No mention of Anquan


    “This was a thank-goodness-for-Anquan-Boldin-in-the-second-round class.”

  13. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Apr 30, 2014 | Reply

    Amazingly spotty record of 1sts. But wonder if other franchises equally so. I’d bet Keim will do better…

  14. By clssylssy on May 1, 2014 | Reply

    Interesting article Darren. I still remember all the noise when Antrel Rolle was among the guys who decided to take the money and run to NY (when Dansby did likewise for the Phins) following our SB run; didn’t see Rolle as “all that” but was sorry to lose Dansby, chalked it up to a maturity factor and insecure values. I always liked DRC and would have liked to see him come back to the Cards. Anquan Boldin was not a first rounder but could have been and has proved to have been a better athlete that many of the others which is a good example of why I don’t get to excited about draft order; Boldin is a guy the Cards should have paid and that decision still stings…awesome player, his accomplishments and stats don’t lie. Always felt Leinert was a victim of organizational politics and might have had a career in the right system with the right coach; fans tend to see the Leinert/Warner years as black and white…I remember some pretty ugly games by Warner and him getting booed by the fans early on .
    It seems apparent that some of our best talent has come in later rounds and even after the draft which is why I don’t get so caught up in the hysteria and figure if we get two or even three impact players we will have had a successful draft. I understand why we don’t get a comp pick for Ryan Swope, that was on us not doing our do diligence to a degree and a gamble, but nonetheless feel perhaps the NFL was a little remiss also in allowing him into the draft. Hope we learned from that experience and this year’s choices will all have been rigorously screened. Would love to get another Tyrann Mathieu this year; sure seems like Les Miles produces players custom built for the Cards!

  15. By cards62 on May 4, 2014 | Reply

    I like Palmer at QB and I think he can play for us for 2 – 3 more years, but my gut tells me we should take Carr at QB if he is there at # 20. Franchise QB are hard to find and I like this kid so he is my pick. usually I go with position players but something just keeps telling me we should take this guy, Carr.

    GO Cards and looking forward to the draft and MAY the 4th be with everyone today.

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