The One At 1: 1995 -- Ki-Jana Carter

Cincinnati Bengals running back Ki-Jana Carter (32) runs upfield during an NFL game against the Denver Broncos on September 21, 1997. The Broncos defeated the Bengals 38-20. (Peter Read Miller via AP)
Bengals running back Ki-Jana Carter carries the ball against the Broncos in a 1997 game.

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, azcardinals.com will take a look at the last 30 No. 1 overall selections and each player’s impact on the team and league.

NAME/YEAR: RB Ki-Jana Carter, 1995

TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals

THE SITUATION: The Bengals wanted the star running back from Penn State, even with some injury issues in his past. So they traded up from No. 5 to get the Panthers’ No. 1 overall pick to get their man. The Panthers were able to draft Penn State’s Kerry Collins, the quarterback around whom they wanted to build their team.

THE CAREER: What Carter might have been will never be known. He tore his ACL in his very first preseason game, and never was the same, encountering further injury problems during his five years with the Bengals, gaining only 747 yards in the four seasons he could play. He had 464 yards in the second season back from the ACL injury – and that was the most he ever had in a season. He played three seasons with the Saints and Redskins at the end of his career, but played three or fewer games in six of his nine NFL seasons.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Given that one of the best tackles of all-time, Tony Boselli, went No. 2 to Jacksonville, and the Houston Oilers (soon to be Tennessee Titans) nabbed eventual Super Bowl quarterback Steve McNair third overall, the choice of Carter did not age well – although that was all but apparent as it played out in real time.

Advertising