The turning point of the Arizona Cardinals franchise is much debated.
Was it the Jake Plummer season that catapulted the vote and passage of the stadium bill? Was it landing Kurt Warner in free agency, teaming him up with Ken Whisenhunt and Todd Haley and their magical run?
Or, was it the much maligned Denny Green, who had such an eye for talent that he made what many have called, a franchise altering draft in 2004.
In fact, the 2004 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals is one of the ten best of the last 25 years according to NFL.com.
9) 2004 Arizona Cardinals!
Notable picks: WR Larry Fitzgerald, LB Karlos Dansby, DT Darnell Dockett, DE Antonio Smith.
Cardinals fans can point to this draft as the turning point for a franchise that suffered through years of obscurity and heartbreak. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald has become the most iconic player in team history, still going strong after 14 seasons. Dansby logged eight productive years in Arizona, sandwiched around stints in Miami, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Dockett gave the team 158 games before calling it quits in 2014, while Smith was a key part of the Cardinals’ defense for half a decade before taking off to play elsewhere until 2016.
The Cardinals have drafted 99 players since 2004, 12 have been Pro Bowlers, three Pro Bowlers were drafted in that 2004 draft. Surprisingly, Dansby has never made a Pro Bowl, yet Antonio Smith did with the Texans.
Using Pro Football Reference’s Career Approximate Value, these four players occupy four of the top six spots of Arizona Cardinals players since 2004. The only other two? Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell.
To think the Cardinals drafted three of the top 55 players in CAV in the NFL since 2004 in one draft (they have drafted five overall including Peterson and Campbell).
The 2004 draft was a special one for the Arizona Cardinals.
Now, if they can find a way to get close to repeating it.