Our draft series continues, presenting the 10 biggest draft busts the Cardinals have had since 1990. In our previous posts, Cody Brown was the 10th biggest bust, Chuck Levy was the ninth biggest bust and "'Lectric" Leeland McElroy was the eighth biggest bust.
If you have followed the Cardinals over the years, you know that there have been some doozies. Many will likely appear in the posts to come. For today's feature we go back to the 2003 draft to find the next draft disappointment.
The seventh biggest draft bust since 1990 for the Arizona Cardinals was receiver Bryant Johnson.
Johnson was the result of a dubious draft day trade. He was selected number 17 overall by the Cardinals. That year they had the sixth pick overall and famously decided against drafting ASU pass rushing stud Terrell Suggs. They moved down to have the 17th and 18th picks.
I remember reading and hearing about Johnson after the draft and that he was expected to be a number one receiver and a deep threat -- something that Arizona had struggled for years to find. What surprises me now is when I look at his combine information. He had speed, but not great speed, clocking in at 4.5 for his 40-yard dash. One scouting report had him as a third rounder. Others said anywhere in the first or second rounds.
He had a very productive career at Penn State. He logged over 2000 receiving yards and started his final two seasons. He was described as a "polished receiver" with "great size and leaping ability."
Upon joining the Cardinals, he was never more than a decent slot receiver. His supposed over-the-top speed was rarely evident. He had great size and made great leaps, but he suffered form one big problem -- his hands. He could get up high, but would never make the big catch for one reason or another.
His disappointing rookie season was overshadowed by second round selection Anquan Boldin's breakout year of 102 receptions. Johnson hauled in only 35 receptions and scored only once, averaging a mediocre 12.5 YPC.
In his five years with the Cardinals he never caught more than 49 balls, never accumulated more than 740 yards and never scored more than four TDs.
He is still in the league, most recently with the Detroit Lions, and has had a pedestrian pro career. He certainly was not an abomination, but he never lived up to anything close to being a number one go-to receiver or much of a deep threat. This is why he ranks above the aforementioned busts and below the ones yet to be featured.
Luckily for us as Cardinals fans, we were treated to Anquan Boldin and his play that year and many years following.
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