Big Red Draft History: 1981 NFL Draft

The Big Red Zone continues its series by looking back on each of the 28 St. Louis Cardinals drafts (1960-87). This installment focuses on the 1981 Draft, which was held April 28-29 in New York.

Hugh Green or E.J. Junior? That was the question staring the Cardinals in the face as they debated who to select with the fifth overall pick in the 1981 draft.

Green, a 6-2, 225-pound defensive end from Pittsburgh, had been one of the best college players in 1980. A three-time All-American, he had won the Lombardi Trophy as the nation’s best lineman and had finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Junior, a 6-3, 238-pound end from Alabama who had played for legendary coach Bear Bryant on two national championship teams in 1978 and 1979, also had been a consensus All-American in 1980.

In the end, the deciding factor was size. And Junior was the choice.

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