The One At 1: 1999 -- Tim Couch

Baltimore Ravens Michael McCrary sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch for a 7-yard loss in the second quarter of an NFL game in Baltimore Sunday, Sept. 26, 1999.  (AP Photo/Roberto Borea)
Browns quarterback Tim Couch is sacked against the Ravens during his rookie season.

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: QB Tim Couch, 1999

TEAM: Cleveland Browns

THE SITUATION: The Browns needed a franchise quarterback, and there were plenty to choose from at that moment. It came down to Kentucky’s Couch and Oregon QB Akili Smith. Couch was the pick, but the way the Browns were (and mostly have been) it might’ve been doomed from the start.

THE CAREER: Couch had 15 TDs and 13 interceptions as a rookie, but it was the 56 times he was sacked and the beating he took that set the tone for his five years in Cleveland. One of his coaches at the time was Bruce Arians, and Arians insists to this day Couch was as good of a quarterback as others he has coached – like Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer – but that he was never in a position to succeed given what was around him. Regardless, Couch’s career wasn’t long (he was sacked another 51 times in his third season) and it wasn’t good.

THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Perhaps Arians is correct and Couch was just dealt a bad hand. But the Eagles were thrilled that QB Donovan McNabb was there to take No. 2 overall. And running back Edgerrin James is knocking on the door of the Hall of Fame after a great career following his selection fourth overall by the Colts.

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