After Cardinals management decided not to retain star running back Terry Metcalf in 1978, new head coach Bud Wilkinson searched the entire season for an outside threat to complement the inside running of Wayne Morris and Jim Otis. That problem was solved in 1979 after the Big Red selected Ottis Jerome (O.J.) Anderson with the eighth pick in the 1979 NFL draft.
“His durability, his speed, his attitude, his ability to catch the ball,” a pleased Bud Wilkinson told the St. Louis Post Dispatch after the Cards chose the West Palm Beach, Florida native. “There were so many factors. This is something we’ve been discussing for three months. There was no doubt who we wanted. The question was whether he’d be available.”
Cardinals personnel director George Boone added, “We feel that he has the great moves that we’ve been hunting for. We haven’t had those in quite a while.”
“I always believed I was the No. 1 back in the country,” Anderson told the Post Dispatch. “I was happy to be picked in the first round, but I wasn’t surprised.”
Playing in the shadow of Chuck Foreman at the University of Miami (FL), Anderson set several school records including Foreman’s single-season rushing record in 1978.Continue reading