Now that I’ve taken the time over the past three months to skim through the history books and take a trip down futility lane to breakdown the worst draft picks in the Cardinals franchise history (of which there are plenty), I feel it is only fitting that I conclude my series by tying everything together and sharing with you the all-time draft bust team for the Arizona Cardinals. So without further ado here are the draft day names broken down by position that make die-hard Cardinals fans collectively cringe and pull their hair out.
Quarterback: Kelly Stouffer (Round 1: Pick 6, 1987)
To give a brief recap, Stouffer never even suited up for the Cardinals after being taken with their first round pick in 1987 and his rights were traded to the Seahawks before the 1988 draft. The Cardinals didn’t miss out on much though as Stouffer could only muster four sub-par seasons in the NFL with a 5-11 record as a starter and a 7 to 19 touchdown to interception ratio. The definition of a wasted pick and a perfect signal caller to lead our band of misfit draft busts.
Running Back: Tony Jeffery (Round 2: Pick 38, 1988)
After being a 2nd round selection in the ’88 NFL Draft Jeffery only played one season in the NFL before being cut by the Cardinals and his career stats are…wait for it… 3 carries for 8 yards. If the total yardage gained in your NFL career isn’t even enough to move the chains you’re probably good candidate for an all time bust team.
Wide Receiver: Clyde Duncan (Round 1: Pick 17, 1984), Fred Hyatt (Round 2: Pick 40, 1968), Bryant Johnson (Round 1: Pick 17, 2003)
Good ole Clyde Duncan (His name indicates he was probably better suited to be a basketball player) and Fred Hyatt combined for 10 catches, 109 yards and 1 touchdown in their NFL careers. Not the kind of production you expect out of a 1st and 2nd round pick. Johnson had a decent career as a third reciever in Arizona and Detroit but the fact that he is part of what they ended up with as a result of passing on Terrell Suggs means he is worthy of inclusion on this team.
Tight End: J.V. Cain (Round 1: Pick 7, 1974)
This is by far the highest the Cardinals haven taken a tight end in the draft and almost as high as anyone has taken a tight end in the NFL Draft ever, so when he lasted only four NFL seasons and none of which were memorable, he definitely qualified himself as an atrocious draft pick.
Left Tackle: Leonard Davis (Round 1: Pick 2, 2001)
Davis started six seasons with the Cardinals after being selected in 2001 with the highest pick the Cardinals franchise had owned in the NFL Draft in 43 years. Needless to say he didn’t come close to living up to the hype or his draft status as the #2 pick and struggled mightily in his tenure in Arizona being moved from Left Tackle to Right Tackle to Right Guard. Of course he would go on to become a Pro Bowl lineman for the Dallas Cowboys after leaving Arizona.
Left Guard: Greg Kindle (Round 2: Pick 33, 1974)
Two seasons and two career starts is not really what you’re hoping for when you take an offensive guard with the 33rd pick of the draft.
Center: Ed Cunningham (Round 3: Pick 61, 1992)
Cunningham was able to last four seasons as an Arizona and three of which as a starter. To be honest it was hard to find a center to put on this all-time draft bust team so Cunningham got the nod, he wasn’t as egregious of a bust as most other players on this list though.
Right Guard: Elton Brown (Round 4: Pick 111, 2005)
Another tough inclusion but ultimately Brown was a poor player who was never able to take over a starting guard spot in four seasons for a horrendous and thin offensive line.
Right Tackle: Levi Brown (Round 1: Pick 5, 2008)
Ah yes big bad Levi Brown. He was an infuriating bust for the Cardinals that was a complete failure as a left tackle and flashed just enough competence as a right tackle amidst injuries and uninspired play to hang around in the desert for six years. All you need to know about this pick is the fact that Adrian Peterson was still on the board, yes take a moment to let that sink in.
Defensive End: Andre Wadsworth (Round 1: Pick 3, 1998), Calvin Pace (Round 1: Pick 17, 2003)
Andre Wadsworth just may have been the biggest bust in Arizona Cardinals history, as the freak of nature was taken by the Cardinals with the 3rd pick of the 1998 NFL Draft and lasted 3 NFL seasons recording a total of 8 sacks. Pace was the second player taken as a result of the Cardinals moving back in the 2003 draft. The reason he is on this team is because the Cardinals passed on future hall of famer and hometown star Terrell Suggs to take him. Enough said.
Defensive Tackle: Wendell Bryant (Round 1: Pick 12, 2002), Alan Branch (Round 2: Pick 33, 2007)
Wendell lasted two glorious NFL seasons which included 9 starts and 1.5 sacks before finding his way out of the NFL, also a strong candidate for biggest bust in franchise history. Branch never really fit the Cardinals scheme or found a role with the team after being a high selection, but revived his career in Seattle after leaving the desert.
Outside Linebacker: Cody Brown (Round 2, Pick 63, 2009), Johnny Rutledge (Round 2: Pick 51, 1999)
Brown missed his entire rookie season with an injury and was cut a week before the following season. Rutledge lasted a couple seasons as a Cardinal but never was able to earn a starting role, not good enough for a 2nd round pick.
Middle Linebacker: Buster Davis (Round 3: Pick 69, 2007)
Davis was the crown jewel of a terrible 2007 class and lived up to his first name by accomplishing the rare feat of not even making the team after being a 3rd round pick.
Cornerback: Jamell Fleming (Round 3: Pick 80, 2012), Tom Knight (Round 1: Pick 9, 1997)
Fleming only lasted a season with the Cardinals and Knight had five forgettable and injury ridden seasons in Arizona, not exactly what you are banking on out of a top 10 draft pick.
Safety: Michael Stone (Round 2: Pick 54, 2001), Tim Gray (Round 1: Pick 21, 1975)
Stone had a short tenure as a Cardinal in which he was never a starter and was overshadowed by the player drafted after him in Adrian Wilson, while Gray never started one game as a Cardinal although like many others (Calvin Pace, Alan Branch, Leonard Davis) he found short term success on another team.
Well there you have it, the biggest draft busts by position in the history of the historically cellar dwelling Arizona Cardinals franchise, lets hope exercising these demons one last time before the 2014 NFL Draft will bring nothing but positive vibes and future success for the class of 2014.