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How Great Is 8, And Wednesday Before The Draft

The Cardinals have held the eighth pick in the NFL draft six times before this season. Three came at least 50 years ago: Tackle Ken Rice in 1961, linebacker Carl McAdams in 1966 and running back Larry Stegent in 1970. Rice (with the Bills) and McAdams (with the Jets) were also AFL draft picks when the league's were competing and both men never played for the Cardinals, choosing to sign with the AFL teams instead and giving the Cards the Joe Namath treatment. (Rice was actually the overall top choice in the 1961 AFL draft, but McAdams was only a third-round pick of the Jets). Stegent suffered a knee injury in his very first preseason game and never panned out.

The more recent three No. 8 picks proved a little bit better, although with mixed long-term results.

  • In 1979, the Cardinals drafted running back Ottis Anderson, who only happened to rush for a franchise-record 1,605 yards as a rookie (a record that still stands), holds the top four rushing seasons in franchise history, and is the franchise's all-time rushing leader with 7,999 yards.
  • In 1999, the Cardinals drafted wide receiver David Boston, who truthfully was almost like a comet for the Cardinals but a bright one for a while there. He was good in 2000 with his first 1,000-yard season but he was a beast in 2001, making first-team all-pro with his league-leading 1,598 yards on 98 catches. Of course, he had some scrapes with the law, and his body kept breaking down as he continued to try and build it up by any means necessary. He left as a free agent after the 2002 season.
  • In 2005, the Cardinals took cornerback Antrel Rolle, who later moved to his more natural safety spot. Rolle was a key player on the team that eventually reached the Super Bowl, and he probably would've stuck around longer had his rookie contract not put the Cards in a cap position to have to release him and allow him to hit the open market in 2010. He ended up making three Pro Bowls, including one with the Cardinals. And he should've had three pick-6s in one game in Cincinnati in 2007, if Antonio Smith hadn't gone after Carson Palmer during the final runback.

The question for Thursday is whether the Cardinals will be selecting someone at 8 to add to this list, or not? As with any draft, it depends on what happens before them -- those top seven picks will determine if Steve Keim might have an interested party willing to trade up for 8, and see if the Cards might move down. If not, will it be an offensive lineman? Or one of those defensive studs we keep wondering about?

-- I'm on record as saying I'd like them to take linebacker Isaiah Simmons if he is there, but I understand those who hesitate in getting a player who doesn't seem to have a natural spot, especially after the experiment to move Haason Reddick to a position he was not naturally suited to never panned out. You don't want a repeat of that, especially in the first round. I just think, if the coaching staff knows how to make it work -- and to be sure, those discussions have already been thoroughly hashed out -- he can be dynamic. I keep thinking of Honey Badger 2.0. That wouldn't be bad.

-- If there is no trade and no second-round pick added, I'm perfectly willing to go with the "DeAndre Hopkins is the second-round pick" statement.

-- If you missed it, we even did an eight-pick mini-mock on the Cardinals Underground podcast this week.

-- I am curious to see what other positions they might come up with out of their six total picks barring trade. I could see getting a running back somewhere. A safety and a lineman on each side of the ball. But truthfully, if they got an inside linebacker, a pass rusher, even another wide receiver, I wouldn't be shocked. It feels like you get the best guys you can when you're on the clock and go from there.

-- Don't forget to catch the livestream of Cardinals Draft Connection, presented by your Arizona Ford Dealers. You can see it here or on our YouTube channel once the Cardinals are on the clock in the first round. I'm even supposed make an appearance.

-- It has been a good offseason thus far for the Cardinals. The draft is crucial, though. Everyone knows that, especially with that first pick. Keim said he'd like an immediate impact player there. That could be tougher given the unlikelihood of offseason work. Does that mean there might be an easier plug-and-play pick like an offensive lineman or defensive lineman?

See you Thursday night.

Safety Antrel Rolle celebrates one of his touchdowns in Cincinnati in 2007.
Safety Antrel Rolle celebrates one of his touchdowns in Cincinnati in 2007.

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