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 Michael Vick, 2001
TEAM: Atlanta Falcons
THE SITUATION: Vick was the electric if raw passer who was scintillating at Virginia Tech. The Chargers owned the No. 1 pick and needed a quarterback, but instead made a deal with the Falcons. Atlanta moved up to get Vick, while the Chargers eventually got a quarterback with the first pick of the second round – a guy named Drew Brees.
THE CAREER: As a player, Vick was a lot of what the Falcons wanted. He never became a great drop-back passer, but he was so elusive and excellent as a runner that he made life difficult for any defense (and, as a quarterback, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2006, averaging more than eight yards a carry.) He was dangerous everywhere – but that included off the field, where he was arrested for dog fighting and sent to prison in the middle of his career. When he came back, he eventually became an effective starter for the Eagles, passing better than he had in Atlanta.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Clearly, the Falcons knew who they wanted because they traded up. But the Chargers were happy too, because they got Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson fifth overall. Defensive end Justin Smith (87 sacks) had a very good career after the Bengals took him No. 4. And Leonard Davis ended up a multiple-time Pro Bowler as an offensive lineman after being the No. 2 overall pick by the Cardinals, later playing with the Cowboys.