Updated Jan 25, 2012 - 11:34 am
If the Cardinals could do the 2006 draft again...
Entering the draft, Arizona had just veteran Kurt Warner on the roster, and the former star was not exactly coming off an impressive 2005 campaign.
So, with a new stadium opening and a need at the position, the Cardinals and then-coach Dennis Green felt fortunate when Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart fell to them at No. 10 in the draft.
Calling him a "gift from heaven," Green inserted Leinart into the starting lineup in a Week 5 tilt with the Chiefs, and never looked back.
Of course, we can look back, and six years later it's pretty much a guarantee the Cardinals would go a different direction if they could get a do-over in the draft.
According to ESPN's Mel Kiper in an ESPN Insider story, if the draft was held again today the Cardinals would end up with offensive lineman D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who was originally taken by the Jets with the fourth pick in 2006.
Drafted at No. 4 overall, Ferguson was expected to be very good, and he has been. A Pro Bowl regular, he may be overshadowed by the excellence of Mangold, but plenty of teams would love to get what he provides the Jets.
Leinart was not selected in the re-draft.
As for the Cardinals, this would have certainly changed their history. No Leinart means the Cardinals find someone else to compete with Warner and, possibly, their new QB would not have lost the starting job to the veteran a couple years later. The Cardinals would also have probably not taken Levi Brown number five overall in 2007, possibly selecting Oklahoma star Adrian Peterson instead.
Oh, what could have been...
Instead, though, all we have is what actually happened. The Cardinals took Leinart, who looked promising for a little while, and then cut him five years later. The team fired Green, hired Ken Whisenhunt and rode Warner to a Super Bowl.
So, really, things could have been worse.
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