The 5: Most recent Arizona Cardinals 1st-round draft picks
Apr 25, 2022, 10:06 AM
(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals have picked two quarterbacks and three linebackers with their five most recent first-round NFL Draft picks.
They own the No. 23 selection in the 2022 event starting Thursday evening.
Arizona’s pick success has been a mixed bag over the past half decade, with only three of the five players still on the team. No. 23 is the latest the Cardinals have picked since 2016, as three of their last five selections were in the top 10 — they traded up to No. 10 in 2018.
Here are the last five Cardinals first round picks and how their tenures have gone or went:
2017: OLB Haason Reddick (13th)
The Cardinals took Temple defender Haason Reddick with the No. 13 pick. Reddick entered the pros as a fast and physical player who was projected to be too small to play on the edge.
NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein said at the time that Reddick may have a greater impact off the ball or as a weakside linebacker.
The Cardinals tried that, moving him to an inside linebacker role in 2018 under then-head coach Steve Wilks, before sliding him back outside under the current regime.
Reddick started 18 games over his first three seasons. Arizona declined his fifth-year option entering his fourth campaign, which became his breakout season.
He filled in on the edge with injuries to Devon Kennard and then Chandler Jones, showing off his athleticism and speed draft analysts revered in 2017 en route to 12.5 sacks which lead the team.
Reddick collected five sacks in one game against the New York Giants to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The decision to decline Reddick’s option led to his departure last offseason, as he signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.
Reddick re-entered the market this spring and inked a three-year contract worth up to $45 million with the Philadelphia Eagles.
2018: QB Josh Rosen (10th)
The Cardinals sent their first, third and fifth-round picks to the then-Oakland Raiders to move up five spots and take UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall.
Carson Palmer had retired after the 2017 season, and Arizona saw a chance to grab their next franchise quarterback.
While veteran Sam Bradford won the starting job to begin the season, Rosen had an eventful debut against the Chicago Bears, as he entered the game down by two with 4:31 remaining. He completed 4 of 6 throws to march into Bears territory before getting intercepted in an eventual loss.
The Cardinals went 3-13 in 2018, going 3-10 in the rookie’s starts. Rosen completed 55.2% of his throws and had the lowest quarterback rating in the NFL at 66.7.
Arizona then earned the top pick in the 2019 draft and saw a prospect they wanted to give the keys to in Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, which they did.
Rosen went to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round pick used on receiver Andy Isabella and has started three games since. He is currently on the Atlanta Falcons, where he was a backup in 2021.
2019: QB Kyler Murray (1st)
Murray’s selection atop the draft helped to curb stereotypes about a quarterback’s height impacting his draft status, and his production with two Pro bowl appearances since he entered the league is a big part of that.
Starting all 46 games he’s been available, Murray has completed 67% of his 1,581 attempts and thrown 70 touchdowns to 34 interceptions over his first three seasons.
Murray’s threat on the ground has also been a huge piece to his success, as he’s rushed for 1,786 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Arizona is 22-23-1 over that span with head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Now, Murray is seeking a contract extension — though he’s under his rookie deal for this coming season and has the fifth-year option given to first-round picks available to be picked up this offseason.
2020: ILB Isaiah Simmons (8th)
Selected during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons didn’t see the field as much as expected his rookie season while playing behind and alongside vets Jordan Hicks and De’Vondre Campbell.
Still, he was utilized much like he was in college at Clemson, where he moved from inside linebacker, to pass-rusher, to nickel, to outside corner based on the gameplan.
Simmons had an overtime pick that sealed a game against the Seattle Seahawks his rookie year and added 54 tackles and two sacks.
He became a full-time starter his second season after Campbell departed in free agency and was third on the team with 105 tackles, adding seven passes defensed, four forced fumbles with 1.5 sacks and another interception.
While he was far from perfect, it was a big step in his progression.
2021: ILB Zaven Collins (16th)
The Tulsa prospect was a curious selection at No. 16 overall because Arizona still had Hicks and had just drafted Simmons a year prior.
Nonetheless, he was all but named the starting middle linebacker by general manager Steve Keim on draft night. Hicks, however, won the role in training camp and was no traded despite being open about the awkward and less-than-ideal position he was put in.
Collins played in just 20% of the overall defensive snaps while recording 25 tackles and three passes defensed.
With Hicks released and now with the Minnesota Vikings, Collins will have his chance to win the starting role alongside Simmons this year, though veteran Nick Vigil could also make a case to be the primary mike linebacker.