Big Red Flashback 1960: Cards Draft George Izo Number One

With the 2023 NFL Draft on the horizon (April 27-29 in Kansas City), the Big Red Zone is looking back at each of the St. Louis Cardinals’s 28 drafts, starting in 1960. Each installment in the series will include a list of that year’s selections, an evaluation of each pick (based on what the player contributed to the Cardinals), and notes about some of the players. We begin the series with a story on the St. Louis team’s first draft pick: quarterback George Izo. 

During their time in St. Louis (1960-87), the football Cardinals took 24 shots at drafting quarterbacks. They missed on only 22 of them.

With the exceptions of Charley Johnson and Neil Lomax, the other quarterbacks drafted contributed little to nothing to the Cardinals, played for other teams, or never played a single snap in the NFL. Four of the misfires came in the first round, starting, well, right from the start.

Although the Cardinals were still in Chicago when the 1960 draft was held on November 29, 1959, that is recognized as the first draft class in the team’s St. Louis history. And with their first pick in that draft (No. 2 overall), the Big Red selected Notre Dame quarterback George Izo.

(Izo also was a “territorial selection” of the New York Titans in the 1960 AFL draft. He chose to sign with the Cardinals—for $15,000, including a $2,000 signing bonus—not only because the AFL was just beginning but also because Chicago was geographically close to Notre Dame and he thought he could parlay his college stardom and, hopefully, success in the NFL into a lucrative off-the-field career in Chicago business. He even received a lucrative offer from Chicago radio station WGN. Alas, the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in March 1960.)

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