Arizona Cardinals would welcome same draft haul they acquired back in 1998

NFL Combine
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An outstanding pre-draft trade by one-time general manager Bob Ferguson set the Arizona Cardinals up nicely back in 1998.

The NFL Draft is seven weeks away, and the Arizona Cardinals are sitting in the catbird seat. With the third-overall pick firmly in his grasp, general manager Monti Ossenfort is waiting for quarterback-needy teams to make him an offer he can't refuse for the prized selection.

If Ossenfort does ultimately elect to trade down on April 27th, Cards fans would be downright thrilled if the executive can pull off a deal like one of his predecessors did back in 1998. For the measly price of moving down one spot (from #2 to #3-overall), former Arizona GM Bob Ferguson got the franchise an extra second-round choice in '98 and an additional first-rounder in 1999. The pot was sweetened even more when the front office walked away with two serviceable veterans as well.

Bobby Beathard, the former general manager of the San Diego Chargers, was in dire need of a signal-caller for his squad. That year's crop consisted of a pair of blue-chip talents at the position. Peyton Manning was a highly-touted passer out of the University of Tennessee, and Washington State University's Ryan Leaf appeared to be a can't-miss option as well.

The Arizona Cardinals found themselves in a can't-lose situation 25 years ago

To guarantee that the Chargers would be coming out of the draft with one of the two top prizes, Beathard needed to move up. The Indianapolis Colts also coveted a QB, so the number one overall choice wasn't for sale. At the same time, the Cardinals organization was hitching it's wagon to electrifying signal-caller Jake "The Snake" Plummer and was open for business.

Indianapolis aced a monumental decision when they chose to roll with a future Hall of Famer like Manning. Leaf was an absolute disaster in San Diego, and was out of the league just four years later. The Cards landed Andre Wadsworth at number three-overall, but the promising career of the talented defensive end was derailed by a pair of damaged knees.

Despite Wadsworth being somewhat of a bust, Arizona still managed to make out well thanks to Ferguson's wheeling and dealing. The second-round pick they squeezed out of the Chargers turned out to be starting cornerback Corey Chavous, while the first-round selection in '99 delivered dynamic wideout David Boston to the desert. Wide receiver/kick returner Eric Metcalf and linebacker Patrick Sapp were also included in the lopsided trade.

It would be fantastic if Ossenfort can fetch the same type of haul for the third-overall choice next month. Obviously, staying put and selecting either Alabama's Will Anderson Jr. or Georgia's Jalen Carter remains an intriguing possibility. Either way, the Cardinals' future should look a whole lot brighter following what should be an exciting and tantalizing 2023 draft.

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