Cardinals legend Larry Wilson made many plays, but also made a decision that altered NFL history in the 1991 NFL Draft
Heading into the 1991 draft, there were many decisions to be made for the Cardinals. Phoenix’s defense was also ranked 24th in the league in 1990 – the same as their offense. So when the Cardinals, who were led by Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson as their general manager, picked defensive lineman Eric Swann in the first round (a player who never played a snap of college football), it was kind of a surprise.
However, Swann ended up working out and he helped lead some great Cardinals defenses later in the 1990s. Their second-round pick reinforced the Cardinals’ desire to improve their defense as they took defensive end Mike Jones out of North Carolina State with the 32nd overall pick.
This is where two new teams enter the scene. The New York Jets were managed by Ron Wolf, who at the time wanted to do anything he could to get Brett Favre on his team. Favre had been in talks previously with the Atlanta Falcons that he was going to be a first-round pick, but that didn’t happen. A wide receiver named Mike Pritchard was drafted with the Falcons first-round pick instead of Favre. On to the second round we go.
Thanks to Secret Base and their “Dorktown” documentary on the entire history of the Atlanta Falcons for pointing this out (and the inspiration for this entire story). You can see the moment below.
Wilson had a trade deal ready to go for the Cardinals with the Wolf-led Jets, but Phoenix decided at the last moment to scratch that and take Jones instead. That resulted in Wolf trading up to pick No. 34, just in case Atlanta didn’t take Favre. That obviously didn’t happen though and Favre went to the Falcons.