The Arizona Cardinals have had good starters on offense in their history. The Cardinals currently have solid starters on their offensive line such as Jared Veldheer and A.Q. Shipley. The team has many speedy receivers in John Brown and J.J. Nelson.
The team also had solid players in their history such as Roy Green and Stump Mitchell but who is the best of the best that has produced in Cardinals history?
Here is my All-Time Arizona Cardinals starting lineup:
Quarterback: Kurt Warner (2005-2009)
Others in Consideration: Carson Palmer, Jim Hart, Neil Lomax
Warner is arguably the best quarterback in Arizona Cardinals history because he led the team to its only Super Bowl. He was not the product of Ken Whisenhunt’s system but the main reason Whisenhunt had success in his first three seasons with the Cardinals. He made every player around him better. He gave the Cardinals worldwide attention and recognition, which was exactly what the organization needed in its revival. Though Carson Palmer, Jim Hart, and Neil Lomax have the stats and wins, no quarterback in Cardinals history has had more of a positive impact than Warner.
Fullback: Larry Centers (1990-1998)
Centers was drafted by the Phoenix Cardinals in the fifth round, 115th overall, in the 1990 NFL Draft. Though fullbacks are not as relevant anymore in the NFL, he had a lot of grit to his game. He not only had success as a blocker and a ball carrier, but was excellent in his receiving game. A elusive and versatile fullback that was one of the best to ever play the position. Don’t think Bruce Arians would mind having a fullback like him on the field. Pair him up with David Johnson and teams won’t know who to cover.
Running back: David Johnson (2015-Present)
Others in Consideration: Ottis Anderson, Edgerrin James, Charley Trippi
David Johnson’s ability to carry a heavy workload and his natural ability to catch like a wide receiver says it all. He is one of the best running backs in the NFL and is fantasy football gold. He can run straight up the middle, run to the outside, and can even juke All-Pro defenders. He can lineup as a wide receiver and is a solid pass blocker. He is the definition of versatility at its greatest. “The Humble Rumble”? Let’s give him a new nickname.
Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald (2004-Present)
He owns most, if not all, of the Cardinals wide receiver records and is climbing up the NFL record books. He is the best blocking wide receiver in the NFL and his low percentage of drops is uncanny. Put him on the outside or keep him in the slot. Not much has to be said. He is the best player in Arizona Cardinals history.
Wide Receiver: Anquan Boldin (2003-2009)
Fitzgerald and Boldin duo was arguably the best in the National Football League from 2005 to 2009. Boldin was great as a pass catcher but was also very successful at blocking. Imagine having five players (Centers, D.Johnson, Fitzgerald, Boldin, J.Smith) who could do damage in the blocking and receiving game.
Tight End: Jackie Smith (1963-1977)
He is a Hall of Famer for a reason. He had almost 8000 career receiving yards but would have had so much more had regular seasons were 16 games long, instead of 14. Did not know too much about him before making this article but after reading more about him, he is a player that is hard to find in the NFL these days. He was not only an athlete but a great football player. He was a tough player to tackle and was very physical in his game. He was a vertical threat but also a good blocker. Jackie Smith would be a type of player Bruce Arians would use often in the passing game.
Left Tackle: Luis Sharpe (1982-1994)
Before crack cocaine entered his life, he was a three-time Pro Bowler. He was one of the more athletic offensive linemen in the NFL and probably NFL history to this day. Though the Cardinals did not have much success at winning, he did his job and protected the quarterback(s) under center.
Left Guard: Mike Iupati (2015-Present)
Health has been a major concern for Iupati but he has played a big role in David Johnson’s success. Though he had a ineffective 2016 season, he remains as one of the best run blocking guards in the NFL. Pass blocking is definitely his weakness but he should be better in 2017, assuming he is 100% healthy. A bounce back season for him could mean a return to the Pro Bowl.
Center: Lyle Sendlein (2007-2015)
He was not the best at his position nor was he the worst. He did not excel in any particular category in his game but did a solid job in pass and run blocking. He was an undrafted free agent find that was consistently average in the NFL.
Right Guard: Conrad Dobler (1972-1977)
Contemplated putting Dobler in here. He was the definition of a dirty player but was a bulldozer at guard. He was a key player to an offensive line that allowed only eight sacks in 1975. Dirty player aside, he was a Pro Bowler and probably the best right guard to have ever played for the Cardinals.
Right Tackle: Dan Dierdorf (1971-1983)
I’ll keep it short. Best right tackle in NFL history. Five-time first-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler.
If you think there are better players, post the names down below. Let’s get some new David Johnson nicknames too!