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When the Arizona Cardinals almost had the 1st pick in the NFL Draft

With the Phoenix Suns picking first in the 2018 NFL Draft, look back at the Cardinals almost picking first.

2004 NFL DRAFT Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For the existence of the Arizona Cardinals and the years of putrid football, they have never held the top selection in any NFL Draft.

In a number of different seasons, they have come close.

In 1998 they picked second and missed on Peyton Manning (they ended up avoiding the costly error of taking Ryan Leaf, traded down to three and had one of the best trade hauls in NFL Draft history).

In 2001, they picked second and missed on Michael Vick. They settled for Leonard Davis who was miscast as a tackle, before moving onto Dallas to become an Pro Bowl guard.

Finally, in 2004 they picked third, but they only picked third because of Josh McCown’s hail mary to Nate Pool to beat the Minnesota Vikings to end the 2003 season.

In each scenario, the Cardinals missed out on a franchise quarterback by not picking first. They also missed out by just not picking a quarterback in 2001 (Drew Brees) and 2004 (Philip Rivers/Ben Roethlisberger).

Clearly, they got it right in 2004, getting Larry Fitzgerald, but they’ve been so close to special talent so many times and just missed out.

Much like the Cardinals, the Phoenix Suns have been in the same boat, missing out on franchise changers year after year because of the draft lottery.

Now, they get their shot.

It is poetic that in the same season the Arizona Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen and got what they expect to be their franchise changer in Rosen, the Suns get the first pick... Finally and can get what everyone expects to be a franchise changer in Deandre Ayton.

Let’s hope the growth of both players coincides with a renewed spirit and excitement for both franchises moving forward.