Most NFL teams have their share of draft busts. It is inevitable. The Cardinals, though, seem to have had more than their share when it comes to running backs. Already in our draft bust series, two of the previous four were running backs, and today makes a third. Arizona just has not had much luck when it comes to finding a feature back in the draft.
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.
Who was the sixth biggest draft bust since 1990? It was the Cardinals' selection of running back Anthony Thompson in 1990.
Anthony Thompson was taken with the 31st pick in the draft, the first in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals. He was expected to be a feature back that would be the primary offensive force for the team.
He certainly had the background for it. His college career at Indiana was spectacular. He rushed for 5299 yards in his career and held a then record 65 career TDs (which stood until Ricky Williams surpassed in 1998). He had set the single game rushing record in 1989 with 377 yards (broken later by LaDamian Tomlinson in 1999) and he was second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy that year. He was built like a strong running back should and should have been a force at Sun Devil Stadium for years.
So what did he accomplish as a Cardinal? He rushed for a total of 831 yards...in his career. His rookie season was a disappointment. His 390 yards can on an average per carry of 3.7 yards. 40 of those yards came on one run. He was unable to beat out Jonnhy Johnson, who was drafted the same year in the seventh round.
He was gone by 1992 and finished the season with the Rams, and after that season he never played another down in the NFL. It was one of many missteps with a running back.
Monday we will bring you the fifth biggest bust since 1990 for the Cardinals. There are only first round picks left.
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