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ESPN 2009 re-draft has Arizona Cardinals picking LB Brian Cushing
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ESPN 2009 re-draft has Arizona Cardinals picking LB Brian Cushing

Arizona Cardinals fans likely have much to say about the team’s first-round selection of running back Beanie Wells in 2009.

Although the Ohio State product put together a 1,000-yard season in 2011, his time in the Valley was largely marred by injuries or ineffectiveness.

Wells, now 26, hasn’t played a down in the NFL since leaving the Cardinals after the 2012 season.

If every NFL team had a do-over on the 2009 draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. suggests, in an Insider piece, that Arizona would have drafted linebacker Brian Cushing out of USC.

Here’s Kiper’s rationale for why the Cardinals would have sprung for Cushing in 2009, and why he would have fallen that far.

Remember that Cushing was the first of four linebackers drafted out of USC in 2009, which is pretty incredible (Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga and Kaluka Maiava are the others). He has been to a Pro Bowl, but has to drop here because injuries have robbed him of a lot of playing time over the past three seasons. He was able to play 14 games in 2014 (he played 12 total in the preceding two years) and hopefully can maintain good health in 2015.

Cushing, 28, actually went to the Houston Texans at the No. 15 spot that year. The linebacker went to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season, but as Kiper mentioned, he’s had his share of injuries since then; he hasn’t played all 16 games in a campaign since 2011.

Kiper’s formula for his re-draft has more to do with the overall value of player than it does about how each pick fills a need for a team

The football analyst’s re-draft has quarterback Matthew Stafford going to the Detroit Lions with the No. 1 pick, which is actually what happened that year. From there, he has Clay Matthews going to Green Bay at No. 2, running back LeSean McCoy to Kansas City at No. 3, wide receiver Julian Edelman to Seattle at No. 4 and cornerback Vontae Davis to the New York Jets — who instead took quarterback Mark Sanchez — at No. 5.