When it comes to the NFL Draft, every team wants to grab a difference maker. Most also feel that one of the most important positions to get a good player at is quarterback. This is a good thought, but you still have to draft the right one.
The Arizona Cardinals, and the Cardinals franchise from before they were in Arizona too, has had a long history of not having a great deal of success. In recent years they have proven to be one of the better teams in the league, but it has not always been that way. Drafting a good young quarterback is a good use of a first round draft pick, but what if that player never pans out?
Here is a look at the five quarterbacks drafted by the Cardinals in the first round since 1960.
1960 – George Izo – Notre Dame
George Izo was drafted with the second overall pick of the 1960 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but never made the impact everyone hoped he would. He lasted just one season with the Cardinals and would then spend time on the rosters of the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, and Pittsburgh Steelers before being out of football following the 1966 season.
1965 – Joe Namath – Alabama
The Cardinals drafted the highly rated Joe Namath out of the University of Alabama in 1965. Unfortunately for them, he decided to instead play for the New York Jets of the American Football League who had also drafted him. He would go on to lead the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III and eventually be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
1977 – Steve Pisarkiewicz – Missouri
In 1977, the Cardinals drafted Steve Pisarkiewicz with their first round pick after his playing days at the University of Missouri were over. Pisarkiewicz could not prove to be the heir apparent to starting quarterback Jim Hart and lasted just two years in St. Louis. After one year with the Green Bay Packers in 1980, he would be out of major professional football.
1987 – Kelly Stouffer – Colorado State
Kelly Stouffer was drafted by the Cardinals with the sixth overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. He never played a down for the team though as he sat out what would’ve been his rookie season in a contract dispute and would end up being traded to the Seattle Seahawks. He spent four seasons with the Seahawks as a spot starter and backup and then wouldn’t see action in the NFL again.
2006 – Matt Leinart – Southern California
Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy in college and looked like a sure thing to be a quality pro football quarterback after leading the Trojans of USC to some important wins and impressive seasons. At first, he would find himself losing out on a quarterback competition to Kurt Warner. Later, after Warner announced his retirement, He would lose the starting job to Derek Anderson and eventually be released from the team.