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: Peyton Manning/1998
TEAM: Indianapolis Colts
THE SITUATION: The Colts had the luxury of choosing from two high-grade quarterback prospects in the draft. One was Manning, who had a fantastic career at Tennessee. The other was Ryan Leaf, who led Washington State to a Pac-10 title in 1997. Indianapolis eventually settled on Manning, but no one knew then how markedly different their careers would end up.
THE CAREER: Despite a rocky first season, Manning quickly ascended to stardom and finished his illustrious career as one of the best to ever play the position. He made 14 Pro Bowls, won a pair of Super Bowls and made two more. Manning played for the Colts from 1998 through 2010. He missed the 2011 season with a neck injury and was subsequently released because Indianapolis had their eye on another No. 1 overall pick – Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck – to replace him. Manning went on to more success in four seasons with the Broncos and retired after the 2015 season.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: The Cardinals traded down from the No. 2 pick to No. 3 because they already had Jake Plummer at quarterback. They also received a second-round pick, a future first and Pro Bowl return specialist Eric Metcalf from the Chargers. San Diego took Leaf at No. 2 but he ended up one of the biggest busts in NFL history. The Cardinals chose defensive end Andre Wadsworth at No. 3 but injuries affected his career. Hall of Fame cornerback Charles Woodson went No. 4 overall to the Raiders. The Bears drafted running back Curtis Enis at No. 5.