Remember that list Vince Marotta put together, the one ranking the Arizona Cardinals’ first-round draft picks?
It was a good read and in a lot of ways it was fun to look back at part of the team’s history.
Until, of course, you got past the first handful of players, after which the names do not exactly jump off the page. Like, when Leonard Davis, who was chosen second overall and never went to one Pro Bowl with the team, is eighth, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who played just three seasons with the Cardinals, is one spot ahead of him, it’s safe to say the list — as a whole — is not particularly impressive.
That’s just honesty, folks, and it’s an opinion that is backed up by stats.
Over at ESPN.com, Sharon Katz put together her own list ranking the NFL’s teams on their success with first-round picks. She turned to Pro Football Reference’s approximate value metric to rank every player chosen in round one over the last 10 seasons, and under those parameters, the Cardinals came in at No. 23.
Surplus AV per pick: Minus-0.9
Biggest hit: Patrick Peterson (No. 5, 2011 draft)
Biggest miss: Jonathan Cooper (No. 7, 2013 draft)
Other than Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona’s top contributors last season were either selected on the second day of the NFL draft or signed as free agents. Meanwhile, 2015 first-rounder D.J. Humphries has not played an NFL snap, and Cooper, Arizona’s top pick in 2013, was benched in the second half of last season before being traded to the Patriots this offseason.
Other players who factored into the ranking include Matt Leinart, Levi Brown, Rodgers-Cromartie, Beanie Wells, Dan Williams, Michael Floyd and Deone Bucannon. Of that group, Rodgers-Cromartie has put together a pretty nice career and Williams has found a solid role in the NFL. Meanwhile, Floyd and Bucannon have shown flashes of star potential.
Ranking atop the list are the Carolina Panthers, while the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings round out the top five.