Arizona Cardinals Top 10 Draft Busts: No. 2, Leonard Davis

(Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

We have almost reached the top of the Arizona Cardinals draft bust list. Only one player remains after today. I imagine you already know who it is, but we will still tease you until then. This player was a very "big" bust, even though he did start out his Cardinals tenure solidly.

In review, draft bust number 10 was Cody Brown in 2009. Bust number nine was running back Chuck Levy in 1994. Bust number eight was running back Leeland McElroy in 1996. The Cardinals' seventh biggest bust was receiver Bryant Johnson in 2003. Draft bust number six takes us all the way back to 1990 with RB Anthony Thompson. Biggest bust number five was cornerback Tom Knight and coming in at number four was Thomas Jones. The third biggest bust was actually a pair of players on the defensive line -- Wendall Bryant and Andre Wadsworth

The second biggest bust in Cardinals post-1990 draft history is none other than Leonard Davis.

Davis was a heralded offensive lineman at Texas. Arizona drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. He was expected to the cornerstone of the offensive line for a decade and provide protection for some quarterback's blind side. 

His career did not start badly. The head coach at the time, Dave McGinnins, played him at guard, allowing him to grow and develop as a professional football player. He was very good at that position. Known as "Bigg," the 6-6, 360 lb lineman was moved to right tackle and then left tackle, as he was expected to do.

At that time, the coach was Dennis Green and insisted in playing him at tackle. Why? It was because he was paid too much to be a guard. It sort of makes sense, but forcing a position on a player he is not equipped to play as well was also a poor idea.

As a tackle, he was most known for being penalized. The statement, "False start, number 75, offense..." would become a regular occurrence.  Since 2005, he has been the fifth most penalized player in the league. Needless to say, when his contract expired, Arizona did not re-sign him and he went to the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 to play, not tackle, but guard. 

After joining the Cowboys, he flourished. He was an All-Pro lineman in 2007 and went to the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2008 and 2009. 

It could be said that it was the Cardinals' fault what happened to Davis, and I have to agree to a point. After discovering that he could play guard really well and struggled at tackle, they should have kept him on the inside of the line. However, he was drafted to be a left tackle and to be the anchor of the Cardinals line. That didn't happen and became perhaps the least liked player on the team before his departure. 

These extremely high expectations and inability to play the desired position when put there earn him the second biggest draft bust for the Cardinals. Many would say that he is the biggest. Certainly he is in physical stature. However, there is one player who had even more expectations heaped upon him than Davis. 

Tomorrow we will reveal who that player was.

 


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