Well, it’s that time of year where the filler that we can come up with has to suffice for the lack of NFL action we crave during the offseason. So in the spirit of filler articles and with me taking a page from our fellow FSB site Arrowhead Addict, I have created a list of former wearers of the Big Red for comparison in order to determine one thing:
Who is the Arizona Cardinals’ Greatest of All Time Player (GOAT)?
Now, there are some quick rules for this comparison. As you will see, I am looking at only former players, not ones who are still active in the NFL. Second, we are only examining players who have been a member of the Cardinals during the franchise’s stay in Arizona. That leaves off players such as the great Dan Dierdorff and Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli. And lastly, we are only concerned with the stats each player compiled on the field while being a member of the Cards franchise. Some of these guys moved onto other teams and still had continued success, but were only looking at their time here in AZ.
So remember: (1) They had to play in the desert, (2) They’re no longer active on any NFL roster. (3) We’re only concerned about their stats and accomplishments during their time in Arizona. This is the first of an eight part article over the next two weeks. With that in mind, we’ll start our series with a player who was drafted by the then-Phoenix Cardinals (that’s how far back we’ll go) in 1991.
– Drafted in the 1st round, 6th overall pick in 1991
– 9 seasons with the Cardinals (1991-99)
– 2 Time Pro Bowl Selection (1995 & 96)
– 45.5 sacks, 6 Forced Fumbles
– 376 Tckls, 2 INTs (1 returned for TD)
What can we say about Swannie, I mean the guy was an interior monster. He was one of the great draft stories. Swann was bound for North Carolina State University, but was ruled academically ineligible. Rather than enrolling at NC State as a Proposition 48 student, Swann instead opted to play for the Bay State Titans, a semi-pro team that did not pay its players, but provided jobs for them. He lugged pipe for an electric company and ran errands for a restaurant before being drafted by the Cards.
For his size (6’7″ 290 lbs) he showed incredible quickness and versatility. Often requiring double teams, Swannie routinely would clog the middle of the line and stuff plays at the point of attack. He led the league in sacks by a Defensive Tackle in 1995 with 9 (a year he also made the pro bowl), and was designated as the team’s Franchise player following the 1997 season. He was the type of player that opposing offensive coordinators had to game plan around.
The biggest knock on him was his injury history, which caused him to struggle to play at a consistent level. For years he was ranked right up there with Dana Stubblefield of the 49ers and John Randle of the Vikings as one of the top Defensive Linemen in the game. His abilities helped gain noteriety for the franchise during its most mediocre days. Although he may not seem to be the strongest candidate on the list to receive the title of G.O.A.T., Swann definately deserves recognition.
So there is the first choice, Eric Swann. Coming up next, former Cards WR Rob Moore…