As we move closer to the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27-29), The Big Red Zone is looking back on each of the 28 St. Louis Cardinals drafts (1960-87). This installment focuses on the 1970 Draft, which was held January 27-28, 1969 in New York.
This will forever be known as the Larry Stegent draft.
With the eighth overall pick, the Cardinals could have taken Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, Norm Bulaich, Bobby Anderson or Duane Thomas—all running backs who would have productive NFL careers. Instead, they selected Stegent, a running back from Texas A&M, whose career would be derailed by injuries.
“It’s unbelievable—I’m overwhelmed,” Stegent told Jeff Meyers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch after the draft. “I didn’t feel I’d be picked until much later. I didn’t really think anyone wanted me that much.”
In July 1970, while practicing for the College All-Star Game, Stegent suffered a partial ligament tear in his right knee that forced him to miss most of his rookie training camp and the first two preseason games. He played in the third preseason game, against the Bears, but tore ligaments in his left knee while trying to tackle a Bears defender who had intercepted a pass. He missed all of the 1970 season.
In 1971, Stegent spent time on the Big Red’s taxi squad and saw spot duty on special teams. He didn’t make his first start until a December 12 game against the Eagles. While taking a swing pass from quarterback Jim Hart, Stegent planted his foot attempting to cut back and ripped ligaments in his right knee.
End of season. End of career.Continue reading