The Arizona Cardinals needed a quarterback in 2006.
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
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
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
So, really, things could have been worse.