Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is only six days away (thank you baby Jesus) and I shared with you the all-time draft bust team yesterday, I thought it was only fitting that I lift all Cardinals fans spirits en route to this year’s draft and dissect the history books to anoint the all-time draft team for the Arizona Cardinals franchise. These are the gems the Cardinals have found out of the proverbial rough that is the NFL Draft. The guys that have shaped the direction of the franchise and been anointed as some of the best players in the franchise’s long 118 year history. Let’s start by breaking down the offense.
Quarterback: Neil Lomax (Round 2: Pick 33, 1981)
Lomax started eight consecutive seasons from 1981 until 1988 for the Arizona Cardinals after being drafted by the team in the 2nd round of the 1981 NFL Draft, the type of continuity that has been nonexistent since. Lomax was a highly productive player who made two Pro Bowl in his time as a Cardinal and threw for nearly 23,000 yards to go along with an 136 to 90 touchdown to interception ratio. Although Jim Hart is the all-time Cardinals passing leader with more than 34,000 yards, he wasn’t drafted by the franchise so I couldn’t include him here.
Running Back: Ottis Anderson (Round 1: Pick 8, 1979)
Ottis Anderson is far and away the greatest running back in Arizona Cardinals history with 7,999 yards in his eight seasons with the team or almost exactly 1,000 yards a season. Anderson burst on to the NFL scene after being selected 8th in 1979 by rushing for 1,600 yards as a rookie and being named 1st Team All-NFL in the 1979 season.
Fullback: Larry Centers (Round 5: Pick 115, 1990)
Due to the fact that there is no great tight end in Arizona Cardinals history and Larry Centers had such an incredible career for the Cardinals, I figured it was only right to include him here. Centers is one of the best and most versatile fullbacks in NFL history compiling 6,275 combined rushing and receiving yards in his nine seasons in Arizona. He was also a fan favorite who made three Pro Bowls and even made 1st Team All-NFL in 1996.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald (Round 1: Pick 3, 2004), Roy Green (Round 4: Pick 89, 1979), Anquan Boldin (Round 2: Pick 54, 2003)
The wide receiver position has historically been one of the most effective for the Cardinals in their draft history as they have drafted numerous great and highly productive players over the years. Fitzgerald has been the most productive player in NFL history before the age of 30 with more than 11,000 yards, 87 touchdowns and eight Pro Bowl appearances. Roy Green is the best value pick at the position in the franchise’s history as the 5th round selection had nearly 9,000 yards, two Pro Bowl appearances and two 1st Team All-NFL appearances in his nine-year career with the Cardinals. Boldin had more than 7,500 yards, three Pro Bowl appearances and won Offensive Rookie of the Year in his seven seasons in Arizona.