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 Alex Smith, 2005
TEAM: San Francisco 49ers
THE SITUATION: The 49ers needed a quarterback. There were two from which to choose – Smith or Aaron Rodgers. The Niners took Smith, in hindsight a rough decision. To be fair, Rodgers wasn’t picked until the Packers took him 24th overall.
THE CAREER: Smith’s time in San Francisco had a bumpy beginning, but the 49ers started winning when coach Jim Harbaugh arrived and Smith led the 49ers to a 13-3 record in 2011. But injuries and an emerging Colin Kaepernick pushed him out, and later, after having some success in Kansas City, he was again moved along for Patrick Mahomes. He suffered an ugly broken leg with Washington this past season. While Smith won’t be considered a Hall of Famer, he did turn in a pretty solid career.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: Rodgers aside – it’s not like anyone else high picked him either – Smith probably turned out to be the right call. Three running backs were taken in the top five, and none really had much staying power, with the Dolphins taking Ronnie Brown at 2, the Bears taking Cedric Benson at 4, and the Bucs taking Cadillac Williams at 5. The Browns selected receiver Braylon Edwards third, and he too was only OK.