5 Cardinals first-round picks who did not live to expectations

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Leinart
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Matt Leinart /
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Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Matt Leinart /

Matt Leinart

Few players in NCAA history earned as many accolades as Matt Leinart. A two-time AP National Champion and the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, everyone had lofty expectations for Leinart before the 2006 draft. And the Cardinals wasted no time selecting him as the heir apparent to Kurt Warner.

Leinart’s best statistical season came in 2006, when he threw for 2,547 yards and 11 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions, logging a 74.0 quarterback rating. It was all downhill for Leinart as a member of the Cardinals from there, and he started just six games between 2007 and 2009, with appearances in 17 total games.

Following Warner’s retirement, the Cardinals named Leinart the starter for the 2010 season. However, after failing to produce in training camp, the Cardinals gave up on Leinart and cut ties with him, setting the stage for a merry-go-round between Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton. Leinart would spend time in Houston and Oakland before calling it quits after the 2012 season.