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 Carson Palmer, 2003
TEAM: Cincinnati Bengals
THE SITUATION: The Bengals were starting over (again) with new coach Marvin Lewis and needed a quarterback. Palmer was the obvious pick, a stud from USC to build upon for the future. This being a different time in the NFL, Palmer was even able to sit and learn as a rookie, playing behind Jon Kitna, before being handed the keys to the car.
THE CAREER: Palmer played well for the Bengals, getting them back to the playoffs. But he suffered a torn ACL on a low hit (while throwing a bomb) early in the postseason game, the beginning of rocky times. The ups and downs finally came to a head in 2011 when Palmer, fed up with how the team was run, said he would retire rather than play for the Bengals. Eventually he was traded to the Raiders, and then had a career renaissance in Arizona with the Cardinals before retiring after the 2017 season.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: The Bengals had to have been satisfied, but wide receiver Andre Johnson could end up in the Hall of Fame after going third overall to the Texans. The fifth overall pick was cornerback Terence Newman, who carved out a solid career after the Cowboys took him.