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 JaMarcus Russell, 2007
TEAM: Oakland Raiders
THE SITUATION: Russell was the physical specimen (6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Cam Newton before Cam Newton) from LSU who could throw the ball a country mile and had the kind of big arm Al Davis loved. It made sense. Except Russell started just one year in college and had to fight to win the QB job before the season, and that made some people wonder. Some people turned out to be correct in their thinking.
THE CAREER: Russell was an unquestioned bust. He lasted just three years in the NFL, started just 25 games, threw more interceptions than touchdowns. After he was done, former teammates would tell of a story when the coaches once gave Russell, a rookie at the time, a DVD of plays to study at home. Russell came back the next day saying he studied the video – except the DVD had been blank, a test to see if Russell was doing what he said.
THE OTHER OPTIONS IN TOP FIVE: They weren’t quarterbacks, but the Raiders could have had Hall of Fame-bound wide receiver Calvin Johnson (No. 2 to Lions) or Hall of Fame-bound tackle Joe Thomas (No. 3 to Browns). That wouldn’t have been bad, would it?