To move on from my previous article which listed the ten best picks in Cardinals franchise history (or at least as far back as 1960), I've decided to write an article about the worst picks.
Due to how badly the Cardinals have performed over the years, it's safe to say that they have a lot of forgettable players and drafts, so to save time I'm only going to list the busts from the last ten years.
QB Matt Leinart (Drafted: 2006, Round 1 / Pick 10)
Matt Leinart or "Captain Clipboard" as he is known now, was drafted out of USC in 2006. He was supposed to be a highly regarded quarterback who had the potential to one day make the Hall of Fame.
Leinart had a decent rookie season throwing for 2,547 yards, 11 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 74.0 in only 11 games.
It went downhill from there however, and Leinart only played in 18 games with six starts over the next three years. There are many reasons for this but two of the most important ones were the fact that Kurt Warner had found his form again and was starting the kind of aerial attack which had made his name in St. Louis.
The other key reason was the fact that Leinart was not coach Ken Whisenhunt's idea of a quarterback. Leinart was selected the year before Whisenhunt's arrival by previous head coach Dennis Green.
After Kurt Warner retired in 2010, Leinart was given every opportunity to become the leader of the team and the starting quarterback. The Cardinals even signed Derek Anderson, who is argubly one of the worst quaterbacks in the league (68.8 career QB rating) to compete with him.
Nobody expected Anderson to win the starting job, but somehow he did and Leinart was promptly cut (throwing a hissy fit in the media before a preseason game which Anderson started also had something to do with the cut).
Since leaving Arizona, Matt Leinart has held down a series of jobs being a clipboard holder to other established quarterbacks including Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans and Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders (ironically, Leinart backed-up Palmer in their USC days as well).
For someone who suppsedly hated being Warner's clipboard holder and who constantly whines to anyone who would listen about how he's a "starting NFL quarterback", Leinart hasn't exactly shown he has any motivation to be anything but a backup, even turning down an offer from the Seattle Seahawks who are coached by his former college coach - a team he had a real shot to start for.
WR Bryant Johnson (Drafted: 2003, Round 1 Pick / 17)
The thing which makes this draft pick ten times worse than it actually is was the fact that the Cardinals traded DOWN with the New Orleans Saints when a future All-Pro outside linebacker, Terrell Suggs, was on the board.
Bryant Johnson has been nothing short of medicore since entering the NFL. In five years with the Cardinals he had 2,675 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. That is nowhere near the sort of production you'd expect from a 1st round draft pick.
Compare those stats to those of fellow 2003 Cardinals draft pick, Anquan Boldin, who won the Offensive Rookie Player of the Year and has been to the Pro Bowl several times and is third in franchise history behind Roy Green and Larry Fitzgerald in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Not bad for a late 2nd round draft pick who ran a 4.72 40-yard dash in his Combine.
He's continued with this medicority with three other teams since leaving Arizona (San Francisco, Detroit, Houston) adding just 1,263 yards and six extra touchdowns to his career stats which leaves him with a grand total of 3,938 total receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 138 career games, 74 of them starts.
The other Cardinals 1st rounder in this draft was Calvin Pace but he at least had a decent final season in Arizona before moving on to the New York Jets and being a solid linebacker.
DT Wendell Bryant (Drafted: 2002, Round 1 / Pick 12)
For someone drafted in the 1st round, especially one taken in the top 15, you would expect them to be an intergral part of their new team. You do not expect them to get busted out of the league after three years for getting a third and final strike out on the NFLs substance abuse rules.
But that happened to Wendell Bryant. He signed with the Cardinals in 2002 after he was made their 1st round pick in the 2002 Draft. In only 29 games and nine as starter, Bryant recorded only 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
He tested for marijuana twice in two seasons and the second time earned him a four-game suspension. The final straw for Bryant came when he tested positive for Ecstasy. This earned him a one-year suspension and he missed the entire 2005 season.
He has not returned to the NFL since then although he has attempted to make a comeback, the most recent was in 2009. He was unsuccessful in obtaining employment with the NFL but he did join the Las Vegas Locomitives in the UFL.
LB Buster Davis (Drafted: 2007, Round 3 / Pick 69)
It is not often that a 3rd round draft pick fails to make it to preseason, let alone out of training camp. But that's something Buster Davis managed to achieve.
His Cardinals career lasted all of three months. He was picked at the end of April in the 2007 Draft. He was cut in the middle of training camp in July of the same year.
The 2007 Cardinals' Draft was pretty forgettable. Just one member of the current roster remains from that Draft - Levi Brown - who hasn't performed anywhere near the level expected of a Top 5 pick.
But the Draft is made all the more terrible by the Buster Davis selection. You have to wonder what the Cardinals saw in him during his college career to think he was worth a 3rd round pick only to cut him three months later and before preseason started.
After being cut by the Cardinals, Davis went on to sign for three other teams - Detroit, Houston and Indianapolis. He never made an impact with any team and was cut and re-signed to the practice squad no less than three times for the Texans.
He's since found some stabiility and has spent the last two years playing for the Hartford Colonials in the UFL He will go down as being one of the worst picks in Cardinals franchise history. If he had been a 1st or 2nd rounder, he might have made it in the biggest busts in NFL Draft history.
LB Cody Brown (Drafted: 2009, Round 2 / Pick 63)
Cody Brown has got to be the worst player drafted by the Cardinals in this article and is probably up there with the biggest draft busts in franchise history.
He was drafted in the late 2nd round after having a promising college career with UConn where he recorded a total of 18.5 sacks and was named in the All Big East first team in his senior season. This, however was his biggest achievemnt as a player at any level.
After being selected by the Cardinals, he injured his wrist in preseason during his rookie campaign and was prompty put on injured reserve. He made it back for the start of the 2010 season but obviously didn't impress enough to make the final 53-man roster and was cut without making a single appearance in a regular season game.
His luck of being signed and cut without making a single regular season appearance has continued with two other teams, the Lions and Jets.
Brown will probably go down as being the worst draft pick made by Ken Whisenhunt. Even worse than Whisenhunt's howler of taking Levi Brown over Adrian Peterson in 2007. At least Levi Brown has been average if not quite reaching his full potential. Cody Brown has done absolutely nothing to warrent a draft pick, let alone a 2nd rounder. Complete waste in not only a draft pick but also of talent.