As I went through the most recent rendition of ESPN NFL Draft Insider Mel Kiper Jr.’s mock draft, I began to think about Arizona’s relationship with quarterbacks in the first round of the draft.
And after I began researching it, I noticed the two don't get along in the long-term.
Kiper has the Cardinals selecting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr at 20th in the first round. It’s unlikely – alright, very unlikely – that the Cardinals pick a signal-caller that early. If it happens, however, it’ll be the first time since Arizona picked Matt Leinart 10th in 2006 that the Cardinals went with a quarterback in the first round.
We all know how that turned out.
Leinart assumed the starting role in Week 5 and led the Cardinals for 11 weeks before he suffered a sprained left shoulder in Week 16. He was replaced for the season finale by Kurt Warner. In his rookie season, Leinart threw for 2,547 yards, 12 interceptions and 11 touchdowns but his career would never reach the same heights. During the next three seasons with the Cardinals, Leinart started just six games while watching Warner go through a career resurgence, leading Arizona to the Super Bowl in the process.
Besides Leinart, the Cardinals have picked six quarterbacks in the first round since 1954: Kelly Stouffer sixth overall in 1987, Steve Pisarkiewicz (19th) in 1977, Joe Namath (12th) in 1965, George Izo (2nd) in 1960, King Hill (bonus) in 1958 and Lamar McHan (1st) in 1954.
Stouffer, now an ESPN college football analyst, never played for the then-St. Louis Cardinals after holding out during the 1987 season over failed contract negotiations and was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 1988.
Pisarkiewicz spent two seasons with the Cardinals, playing just nine games while starting four of them. He totaled 804 yards and three touchdowns with the Cards before finishing his career with the Green Bay Packers in 1980.
Namath was drafted by two teams in 1965 – the Cardinals of the NFL and first overall by the New York Jets of the AFL. He chose to head to the Big Apple, never donning a Cardinals uniform, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Izo was in the same boat as Namath -- he was even drafted by the New York Titans before they became the Jets -- but chose to play in the established league rather than the upstart AFL. He played in two games for the Cardinals, starting one of them, before re-injuring his knee. He missed the rest of the season and was traded the next season to Washington.
Hill spent three seasons with the Cardinals – two in Chicago and one in St. Louis. In 1959, his seasons, he started 11 of 12 games for the Cardinals, throwing 1,015 yards and seven touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He started just one game in 1960 before going on to play in Philadelphia.
McHan has been the longest tenured quarterback drafted in the first round by the Cardinals franchise. In five seasons -- 1954-1958 -- he started 50 of 60 games and threw for 6,578 yards, 50 touchdowns and 77 interceptions.
History doesn’t lie. A quarterback drafted in the first round by the Cardinals doesn’t have a likelihood of succeeding.