Cardinals deserved a whole lot more out of Andre Wadsworth

(Photo by Al Bello/Allsport) Andre Wadsworth
(Photo by Al Bello/Allsport) Andre Wadsworth /

Andre Wadsworth, a defensive end out of Florida State, was a huge disappointment during his three-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals.

When the Arizona Cardinals used the third-overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft on Andre Wadsworth, the organization believed that they had acquired a player with star ability.

After all, the Florida State defensive end was rated by many as the top college prospect in the entire country that year. In fact, a good amount of draftniks had Wadsworth ranked above flat-out studs like Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, and Randy Moss.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, and Wadsworth would go down as one of the biggest draft flops in Cardinals history.

The first red flag appeared during the summer of 1998 when Wadsworth missed all of Arizona’s training camp due to a contract dispute. His agent unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a ridiculous provision that would’ve allowed Wadsworth to void the deal with the Cards at any time.

Wadsworth finally joined his teammates on the night before the regular-season opener, but some bad blood had been created by the holdout. The youngster would go on to tally 56 tackles and five sacks in 16 starts as a rookie, but the Cardinals were obviously expecting more.

Things begin to sour between the defensive end and the Arizona Cardinals in 1999

A knee injury limited Wadsworth to just 11 appearances for the Redbirds in 1999. The numbers posted by the 6-foot-4, 264-pounder (25 tackles and two sacks) were highly disappointing.

Offseason knee surgery (the second of his career) took Wadsworth out of most of the squad’s spring and summertime activities in 2000. The lack of practice time greatly affected his production during the fall (13 tackles, one sack in nine games), and Arizona’s front office had seen enough.

Following the 2000 campaign, Wadsworth underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee and arthroscopic surgery on his left. In June of 2001, the Cards elected to part ways with their former first-round selection.

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When all was said and done, the Cardinals received three mediocre seasons from Wadsworth, an individual who had the tools to become an NFL superstar. The franchise, and the “Red Sea” for that matter, deserved so much more.