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: Keyshawn Johnson/1996
TEAM: New York Jets
THE SITUATION: The Jets finished 3-13 in 1995 and were last in the NFL in points per game. They needed a talent infusion and zeroed in on Johnson. The USC All-American became the first receiver taken with the No. 1 overall pick since Irving Fryar in 1984.
THE CAREER: Johnson had an impressive career, albeit with its share of drama. He played four seasons for the Jets, averaging 79 catches, 1,060 receiving yards and eight touchdowns per year. After his rookie season, Johnson co-wrote ‘Just Give Me the Damn Ball,’ a controversial book which chronicled his first year in the NFL. Johnson was traded to the Buccaneers for a pair of first-round picks in 2000. He later played for the Cowboys and Panthers. Johnson made three Pro Bowls in his 11 seasons.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: It was a very deep draft overall. Pro Bowl linebacker Kevin Hardy went to the Jaguars at No. 2 and Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice was chosen by the Cardinals at No. 3. The Ravens made arguably the best pick in the top-five, getting Hall of Fame tackle Jonathan Ogden at No. 4. Defensive end Cedric Jones went to the Giants at No. 5 but injuries hampered his career.