A star offensive tackle at USC who earned All-American honors as a senior, Dave Cadigan entered the pro ranks as a potential prototypical franchise left tackle.
His 6-foot-5, 285-pound frame and the ability to bench a school-record 500 pounds certainly helped push that idea along.
So it wasn’t a surprise when the New York Jets selected him eighth overall in the 1988 NFL Draft, despite testing positive for steroids at the NFL Combine. Once in the league, injuries plagued Cadigan.
He played played in five games –starting four– as a rookie before a foot injury ended his season. After moving to guard, it took two years to re-earn a steady starting job out of training camp. But he tore his ACL just five games into the 1990 season.
Cadigan’s career reached its next major hurdle in 1994, just after completing his first full season with 16 starts under his belt. He opted out of his contract with the Jets, and held out as a free agent until August in a play for a big pay raise.
It backfired, which led to the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke calling him “most disillusioned guard in football.” Cadigan had to settle for less money from the Cincinnati Bengals. That wound up being his final season, as he wrapped up a seven-year career with 82 career games and 64 starts.
Cadigan never made a Pro Bowl, and his 28-point Career Approximate Value by Pro-Football Reference was the lowest among any offensive lineman taken in the first two rounds of the 1988 Draft. That includes Hall of Fame guard Randall McDaniel, who was selected 19th overall.