When the 2013 season began, Antoine Cason watch was well underway.
Cason, taken 27th overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2008 NFL draft, was the last Arizona player taken in the first round. Ka’Deem Carey had hopes of ending that drought and going in the first round.
With the NFL draft now two days away, we know one thing: that’s not happening.
So now it’s on to Nick Foles watch.
The quarterback, drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles 88th overall in 2012, was the last UA player taken in the top three rounds. Depending on what mock draft you prefer, Carey is projected to go in the third, fourth or even fifth round.
Whether or not Carey goes higher than Foles will have to wait until Friday. But the running back from Canyon del Oro will, at some point this weekend, end a brief one-year UA hiatus from the draft.
The Wildcats were shut out in the NFL draft last year for the first time since 2005. Some NFL team will undoubtedly pick Carey this weekend and cornerback Shaquille Richardson and linebacker Marquis Flowers also have hopes of being late-round picks.
Carey will be the 179th player from the UA selected in the draft.
The first Arizona player ever taken was fullback Walt Nielsen. Nielsen was the 10th overall pick of the 1939 draft. He was selected by the New York Giants and played just one season in the NFL.
Here’s a historical look at UA players taken in the first five rounds of the draft.
Total number: 10
The list: FB Walt Nielson, No. 10 overall, 1939 (Giants); OG Bill Lueck, No. 26 overall, 1968 (Packers); DT Mike Dawson, No. 22 overall, 1976 (Cardinals); LB Ricky Hunley, No. 7 overall, 1984 (Bengals); LB Chris Singleton, No. 8 overall, 1990 (Patriots); DE Anthony Smith, No. 11 overall, 1990 (Raiders); OT John Fina, No. 27 overall, 1992 (Bills); CB Chris McAlister, No. 10 overall, 1999 (Ravens); RB Trung Canidate, No. 31 overall, 2000 (Rams); CB Antoine Cason, No. 27 overall, 2008 (Chargers).
The big number: 155: Of all the first-round picks, Fina had the longest career, playing in 155 games and starting 131. He played 10 seasons for the Bills and one for the Cardinals. Cason, the only first-round pick still active, has played in 96 career games. He signed with the Carolina Panthers in the offseason.
Total number: 15
The list: WR Joe Hernandez, No. 15 overall, 1962 (Redskins); QB Eddie Wilson, No. 24 overall, 1962 (Lions); LB Mark Arneson, No. 32 overall, 1972 (Cardinals); WR Charlie McKee, No. 52 overall, 1972 (Cowboys); DB Jackie Wallace, No. 32 overall, 1973 (Vikings); DE Cleveland Crosby, No. 54 overall, 1980 (Browns); WR Vance Johnson, No. 31 overall, 1985 (Broncos); C Joe Tofflemire, No. 44 overall, 1989 (Seahawks); DB Darryl Lewis, No. 38 overall, 1991 (Oilers); RB Chuck Levy, No. 38 overall, 1994 (Cardinals); WR Dennis Northcutt, No. 32 overall, 2000 (Browns); RB Chris Henry, No. 50 overall, 2007 (Titans); OT Eben Britton, No. 39 overall, 2009 (Jaguars); TE Rob Gronkowski, No. 42 overall, 2010 (Patriots); DE Brooks Reed, No. 42 overall, 2011 (Texans).
The big number: 3: Three players drafted in the second round are still active — Britton, Gronkowski and Reed. Gronkowski and Reed are still with the teams that drafted them. Britton is a reserve offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears.
Total number: 14
The list: DB Bobby Thompson, No. 38 overall, 1962 (Lions); RB Paul Robinson, No. 82 overall, Bengals (1968); DE Bob Crum, No. 67 overall, 1973 (Browns); DE Robert Cobb, No. 66 overall, 1981 (Rams); WR Derek Hill, No. 61 overall, 1989 (Steelers); OG Glenn Parker, No. 69 overall, 1990 (Bills); DE Ty Parten, No. 63 overall, 1993 (Bengals); K Steve McLauglin, No. 82 overall, 1995 (Rams); LB Sean Harris, No. 83 overall, 1995 (Bears); LB Tedy Bruschi, No. 86 overall, 1996 (Patriots); OG Frank Middleton, No. 63 overall, 1997 (Buccaneers); LB Lance Briggs, No. 68 overall, 2003 (Bears); DT Earl Mitchell, No. 81 overall, 2010 (Texans); QB Nick Foles, No. 88 overall, 2012 (Eagles).
The big number: 1,595: Bruschi and Briggs (still active) have combined for 1,595 tackles and eight Pro Bowl appearances. Briggs was also named to the 2005 All-Pro team.
Total number: 15
The list: C John Mellekas, No. 47 overall, 1956 (Bears); DB Ricky Stevenson, No. 99 overall, 1970 (Browns); WR Theo Bell, No. 120 overall, 1976 (Steelers); DE Mike Robinson, No. 92 overall, 1981 (Browns); DB Randy Robbins, No. 89 overall, 1984 (Broncos); K Max Zendejas, No. 100 overall, 1986 (Cowboys); LB Byron Evans, No. 93 overall, 1987 (Eagles); DB Chuck Cecil, No. 89 overall, 1988 (Packers); DE Brad Henke, No. 105 overall, 1989 (Giants); OT Rob Woods, No. 111 overall, 1989 (Bengals); DT Joe Salave’a, No. 107 overall, 1998 (Titans); OG Edwin Mulitalo, No. 129 overall, 1999 (Ravens); LB Marcus Bell, No. 116 overall, 2000 (Seahawks); TE Brandon Manumaleuna, No. 129 overall, 2001 (Rams); WR Mike Thomas, No. 107 overall, 2009 (Jaguars).
The big number: 13: Cecil, now an assistant coach with the St. Louis Rams, had 13 interceptions in five seasons with the Packers. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1992.
Total number: 10
The list: RB Bob McCall, No. 121 overall, 1973 (Bengals); DB Mark Streeter, No. 111 overall, 1980 (Lions); P Ruben Rodriguez, No. 131 overall, 1987 (Seahawks); TE Rich Griffith, No. 138 overall, 1993 (Patriots); DT Rob Waldrop, No. 156 overall, 1994 (Chiefs); TE Roderick Lewis, No. 157 overall, 1994 (Oilers); DB Mike Scurlock, No. 140 overall, 1995 (Rams); OG Yusuf Scott, No. 168 overall, 1999 (Cardinals); WR Bobby Wade, No. 139 overall, 2003 (Bears); WR Juron Criner, No. 168 overall, 2012 (Raiders).
The big number: 3: When Waldrop and Lewis were taken back-to-back in 1994, it marked the third time in NFL draft history that two UA players were taken in a row. The other times occurred in 1982 when WR Bob Carter and OG Frank Kalil went No. 297 and 298 overall and in 1995 when McLaughlin and Harris went No. 82 and 83.