After looking through countless statistics of the wide receivers that have been drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, I just couldn’t pick a clear cut number one receiver from the group. Oh alright, I’ll pick one.
Larry Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver ever drafted by the Cardinals. Period. Fitz is one of the best wide receivers to ever play the game, but it was much closer than you might think. The Arizona Cardinals have drafted some pretty darn good wide receivers over the years. Now if they can just do a better job of finding quarterbacks to throw them the ball.
It is a testament to the talent of some of these Cardinals receivers that even with routinely poor play at the quarterback position, they have still managed to put up some impressive stats. Take a look at the top receivers drafted by the Cardinals post merger.
Larry Fitzgerald (2004, 1st round, 3rd overall) Fitzgerald is not only the best wide receiver ever drafted by the Cardinals but likely the best player ever drafted by or to have played for the Cardinals. I mentioned in a recent article that a Cardinals Mount Rushmore begins with Fitz. With all due respect to recent Hall of Fame inductee Aeneas Williams, who was drafted by the Cardinals in 1991, but it’s Fitzgerald who has captured the hearts of Cardinals fans everywhere. He is the player that most fans associated with the team and he will most likely be joining Williams in the Hall of Fame when his career is finished. Hopefully Fitzgerald and the team will find a way for him to finish his career in Arizona.
Career Receiving Stats: 846 catches, 11, 367 yards, 87 touchdowns.
Anquan Boldin (2003, 2nd round, 54th overall) Boldin was drafted the year before Fitzgerald and has had almost as impressive of a career. What a ridiculous combination these two made for the Cardinals. Unfortunately in the days of free agency it is very difficult to keep two top wide receivers together. Boldin has continued to have success wherever he has landed, first in Baltimore with the Ravens, where he was an important piece of the 2013 Super Bowl champs, and also this past season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Career Receiving Stats: 857 catches, 11,344 yards, 65 touchdowns.
Roy Green (1979, 4th round, 89th overall) Green played a total of 11 seasons with the Cardinals. He was voted to 2 Pro Bowls and was a member of two All-Pro teams in 1983/84. Green was also a very good cornerback early on in his career before converting to a full-time wide receiver.
Career Receiving Stats: 559 catches, 8,965 yards, 66 touchdowns, and four interceptions.
Ricky Proehl (1990, 3rd round, 58th overall) Proehl’s career will remembered most for its longevity more than anything else. Proehl played 17 seasons in the NFL, four with the Cardinals. His rookie season with Arizona he set the rookie record and led the team in receptions. Proehl went on to play in four Super Bowls, winning two of them.
Career Receiving Stats: 669 catches, 8,878 yards, 54 touchdowns.
Frank Sanders (1995, 2nd round, 47th overall) Sanders came into the league and was immediately paired with another Cardinals fan favorite, wide receiver Rob Moore. Sanders had his best years playing with Jake Plummer in the early part of Plummer’s career. Sanders had back-to-back seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving in 1997/98. He retired after playing one season with the Ravens in 2003.
Career Receiving Stats: 507 catches, 6,749 yards, 24 touchdowns.
David Boston (1999, 1st round, 8th overall) Boston was a fan favorite in Arizona and is probably most well known for his massive physique. Boston was jacked for a linebacker, let alone a wide receiver. Boston had his best season in 2001 when he caught 98 balls for 1,598 yards and 8 scores. He was voted to the Pro Bowl and selected first team All-Pro that year as well. Boston only played five and a half seasons in the NFL. His career ended due to health concerns and off the field issues including testing positive for suspected performance enhancing drugs.
Career Receiving Stats: 315 catches, 4,699 yards, 25 touchdowns.
That is quite an impressive list for any franchise. It’s also a good bet that current Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd will someday be adding his name to that list. He has had a pretty good mentor in Fitzgerald, who is the best wide receiver the Cardinals have ever drafted. Just in case you forgot.