The look at the Arizona Cardinals and the successes they have had with the NFL Draft continues. We began looking at the 10th biggest draft success in Johnny Johnson and then the ninth biggest draft success in current player LaRod Stephens-Howling. Today we look at the eighth biggest success that the Cardinals have had in the draft since 1990, and he is, like Hyphen, a current player on the Cardinals, but he could be leaving the team this offseason because of his contract situation.
The eighth biggest draft success that the Cardinals have had is receiver Steve Breaston.
Breaston was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 draft by the Cardinals. He was the 142nd player chosen.
When he was drafted, it was really only for his return skills. While playing for the Michigan Wolverines, he became the school's all-time leader in punt and kick returns. He grabbed 58 passes his final year in college, but he was not considered the team's best receiver. That distinction went to Mario Manningham, who was drafted in the third round the same year by the New York Giants.
Breaston had the reputation of a guy who did not have great hands.
As an Arizona Cardinal, he has been so much more than expected. His rookie season he was the team's punt and kick returner. He scored on TD off of a punt and while he did not score off of kickoffs, he broke off several long ones. He was exactly what the team wanted.
The surprise came in 2008, when he blossomed as a receiver. Even as the number three guy behind Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, he logged 77 receptions for over 1000 yards. His reputation as a guy with bad hands was changed, as well. At some point late in the season (I don't remember when) the stat was shared that he did not have a single dropped ball, while both Fitz and Q had dropped a few.
2009 was not exactly the same, but he still hauled in 55 passes for over 700 yards.
2010 was a bit of a disappointment, as he became the number two receiver. He suffered a knee injury that lingered most of the season and had to deal with the bad quarterback play. He only had 47 receptions, but still had over 700 yards.
He is now no longer under contract and may not return in 2011. I personally hope he does. His knee is completely healed and his speed is a must for the receiving corp.
But even if he does not return, his performance matched with the expectations he had from the team coming out of the draft earns him a spot on this list.
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