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The One At 1: 1993 -- Drew Bledsoe

Before Brady, Washington State quarterback got Patriots back to Super Bowl

Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe prepares to pass in a 1997 playoff game against the Steelers.
Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe prepares to pass in a 1997 playoff game against the Steelers.

The Cardinals hold the No. 1 overall pick for April's NFL draft for the first time since 1958. As the day for the Cards to make their selection draws closer, will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player's impact on the team and league.

NAME/YEAR: QB Drew Bledsoe, 1993

TEAM: New England Patriots

THE SITUATION: The Patriots needed a quarterback, and there were two at the top of the NFL draft – Washington State's Bledsoe and Notre Dame's Rick Mirer. Interestingly, the Patriots never let Bledsoe know he was going to be the pick, and so when his name was announced, he was as surprised as anyone. Mirer then went No. 2 to the Seattle Seahawks.

THE CAREER: While these days he is probably better known as the QB whose injury opened the door in 2001 for Tom Brady's greatness, Bledsoe had a very good career for the Patriots up until then, posting prolific passing numbers and leading the team to the Super Bowl in the 1996 season (when the Patriots lost to the Packers.) He also led the Patriots, as a backup, to an AFC Championship game win in 2001 when Brady was injured, getting Brady into his first Super Bowl (which Brady, back at the helm, won.) Bledsoe finished out his career starting for a couple of years each with the Bills and Cowboys.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: The Patriots made the right call. Mirer threw a ton of passes as a rookie -- 486 -- but had 17 interceptions to 12 touchdowns and never quite became what the Seahawks expected. Of the other three top five picks, it was probably the Phoenix Cardinals' selection of running back Garrison Hearst that was the best choice – and Hearst didn't have his best seasons until after he had left to play for the 49ers, playing only three years in Arizona.