There are only four draft successes left in the series. Today I reveal the fourth biggest draft success that the Cardinals have had. Based on comments from previous posts in the series, many of you probably already know who remains. It is pretty clear. What is left to determine is the final order.
Looking back so far on the draft successes, we have covered Johnny Johnson, LaRod Stephens Howling, Steve Breaston, Eric Swann, the combination of Darnell Dockett and Karlos Dansby and most recently Larry Centers.
Who is number four on the list of Arizona Cardinal draft successes? Safety Adrian Wilson.
Wilson attended NC State and started two years. He was projected to be a second round selection after posting a 4.52 second 40-yard dash and a 42 inch vertical leap at the NFL Combine.
He slipped in the draft and was taken by the Cardinals in the third round with the 64th pick overall. He did not start right away. It was not until year two, in 2002, that he got the starting strong safety job.
Since then, he has been a Pro Bowler four times and an All-Pro once. He is a member of the exclusive club of players that have logged at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions. In 2005, he set the sack record for a defensive back with eight (that was more than any Cardinals player in 2010 -- including the pass rushers).
He has long since been considered one of the most athletic players in the game. Check out this video where he leaps over a 66 inch hurdle:
Wilson also has the reputation of being a ferocious hitter. He has been fined several times. He all but ended Trent Edwards career and consistently decleats players with his tackles.
If there is one player on defense whose absence is most noticed, it is his. When he is not on the field, the team defense suffers much like the Pittsburgh Steelers struggle much more with Troy Palomalu out of the lineup.
Even with an admitted crappy 2010 campaign, he still made the Pro Bowl and we learned later he played the entire season with a hip abductor injury.
Say what you will about his deficiencies in pass coverage, there are few players who impact his team with his toughness and playmaking skills than Wilson.
I don't know if he has played at a level that will one day get him into the Hall of Fame, but he is certainly one of the best players the Cardinals have ever had and belongs in this spot.
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