SI.com: Levi Brown the worst player in Arizona Cardinals history
Well this isn’t very nice.
Over at SI.com, NFL writer Doug Farrar created a list naming every franchise’s worst player.
The lists are limited to players from the Super Bowl era, focusing on players who were drafted high, signed to big-money contracts or acquired via trade. And in the NFC version, Farrar lists former Cardinals offensive lineman Levi Brown as Arizona’s choice.
Brown was selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2007 draft, and though he started every possible game (45 total) during his collegiate career for a major program, there were major questions about his worth at that pick altitude. Brown was known to be a powerful road-grading blocker, but not a smooth pass-protector. This proved to be very true when Brown hit the field for the Cardinals—he was a turnstile from the word go, and things didn’t get much better. He allowed eight sacks in his rookie season, 11 in his second, nine in his third, 10 in his fourth… you get the picture. And this was when the Cardinals had Kurt Warner as their quarterback, with a quick-step, quick-release passing game. The mind reels when one considers how many takedowns Brown would have allowed in a seven-step system.
Brown did eventually play some quality football in the second half of the season, and the Cardinals re-signed him after first releasing him to save salary cap space. But he suffered a torn triceps that year, and allowed three sacks to Robert Quinn of the Rams in the first week of the 2013 season. He was traded to the Steelers in October 2013, released by Pittsburgh before the ’14 season and that was that.
Is anyone going to argue? Based on draft position and subsequent production (or lack of), other candidates would be Wendell Bryant, a defensive lineman whom the team selected 12th overall in 2002 and collected just 1.5 sacks in 29 career games, or maybe even Tom Knight, who Arizona chose ninth overall in 1997 and picked off just three passes in five seasons with the Cardinals.
Then again, it’s hard to argue against the selection of Brown.
To be fair to the lineman, it was not his fault the Cardinals reached to take him fifth overall, passing on future stars such as Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch and Darrelle Revis.
And besides that, there is something to be said for someone who is rarely hurt, as he did not miss a game from 2008 to 2011.
But alas, even the most staunch defenders of the former Nittany Lion would have to admit that his inclusion on this list, while maybe disappointing, is not necessarily unfair.