Over the next week or so, we’ll be taking a round-by-round look at the draft history of the Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals since they relocated from St. Louis in 1988.
Tuesday, we looked at the team’s seventh-round picks.
Here’s a look at the Cardinals’ best sixth-round picks.
5. Josh Scobey, RB/KR, Kansas State (6th round, 185th overall, 2003)
Scobey only played in 27 games as a Cardinal, and was mostly a special teams contributor. So you may be thinking “c’mon Vince, he’s really the fifth-best sixth-round pick since ’88?”
The answer is yes, he is. The pickings were slim in this round.
Scobey led the NFL in kickoff return yardage as a rookie, amassing 1,684 yards on 73 returns — which also led the league. The highlight of his season was a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a 37-13 Week 4 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
After three years, the Cardinals released Scobey in August of 2005. He went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks and returned kicks in Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
Scobey is currently part of the Cardinals scouting department.
4. Jay Taylor, CB, San Jose State (6th round, 150th overall, 1989)
Fun fact: Taylor is the only player the Cardinals have selected out of San Jose State since moving to the Valley in 1988.
Taylor also played just three years with the Cardinals, his best season coming in 1990 when he started all 16 games at corner, totaling 47 tackles and three interceptions for a team that finished 5-11 under head first-year head coach Joe Bugel.
Fun fact #2: Taylor made this list (compiled by some Yahoo! user) of the most notable players drafted at 150th overall. Wow, that guy has more time on his hands than I do! Greg Lloyd of the Pittsburgh Steelers (150th out of Grand Valley State in 1987) topped the list which also included four-time Pro Bowler Dwight Hicks (1978) and now-former Cardinals linebacker Jasper Brinkley (2009).
3. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson (6th round, 187th overall, 2013)
Well thank goodness for the diminished draft value of running backs!
Ellington ran for over 3,400 yards in college and found the end zone 36 times for the Tigers. But he ran a slow 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine, so his already-lessened stock fell even more.
Arizona GM Steve Keim snatched him on day three and the rest, as they say, is history (in the making).
The Cardinals used Ellington sparingly in 2013, limiting him to just 118 carries. But he averaged 5.5 yards per carry and busted off an 80-yard touchdown jaunt in a Week 8 win over Atlanta, which was the longest run for the Cards since 2010.
The organization is so excited about Ellington, head coach Bruce Arians said earlier this offseason that he wants to build the offense around him.
Ellington’s at No. 3 on this list now, but he’s got the potential to rise quickly to the top.
2. Justin Bethel, DB, Presbyterian (6th round, 177th overall, 2012)
Some casual fans were shocked two years ago when they thought the Cardinals drafted a player from a religion. Nope, Presbyterian is a college in Clinton, SC, and Bethel became the first player drafted from there in 43 years.
The freakish athlete, who has a viral YouTube video to prove it, has been arguably the best special teams player in the league since stepping on the field for the Cardinals. In Week 16 of his rookie campaign, Bethel blocked an Olindo Mare field goal attempt and returned it 82 yards for his first NFL touchdown.
In 2013, Bethel registered 21 special teams tackles, blocked two kicks and consistently downed punts deep in the opposition’s territory. Bethel represented the Cardinals in the 2013 Pro Bowl.
1. Reggie Wells, OL, Clarion (6th round, 177th overall, 2003
It’s not a sexy pick, but it’s hard to argue with Wells’ contributions to the Cardinals.
Wells, who spent seven years with the organization, held down a starting spot on the offensive line from 2004 until 2009. He was the starting left guard for Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After leaving the Cardinals in 2010, Wells went on to star on Broadway in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, where he shared the stage with Al Pacino.
OK, that’s totally made up, but again, I tried to make this sexier.
After starting 64 straight games for the Cardinals, Wells was traded to Philadelphia right before the start of the 2010 season. In exchange, the Cardinals got a 2011 sixth-round pick (coincidence, huh?) which ended up being defensive tackle David Carter, who almost made this list.
Wells also played for Carolina, San Diego and Buffalo, but started a total of just five games after leaving the desert.