Tuesday, the NFL sent out the exact draft order for next month’s selectathon. The Eagles draft 15th, 46th, 51st, 88th, 114th, 153rd, 172nd, 194th and 200th overall.
Your Eagletarian thought it might be fun to look at each of those spots over the last, say, 50 drafts, and see what the Birds did when they were selecting from those coordinates.
First off, turned out it wasn’t that much fun. It was boring as hell. About halfway through, your Eagletarian suddenly remembered why he usually leaves such pursuits to Reuben Frank.
It was boring mostly because there were no super-interesting nuggets to be gleaned. The fact that the Eagles drafted Wilbert Montgomery 154th overall in 1977 would only be interesting if they drafted 154th this year, instead of 153rd. Who have they gotten at 153? Well, star-crossed tight end Cornelius Ingram, from Florida, in 2009. And a defensive end named Bob Hughes from Jackson State, in 1967.
Of course, the Eagles might only actually draft in a handful of these exact spots. They loves them some draft-pick shuffling. Right now Howie Roseman doesn’t have a seventh-round pick. The seventh round is Howie’s wheelhouse, where he found Jamar Chaney, Kurt Coleman and Moise Fokou, among others; you know he’ll dig one up somewhere. One of those second-rounders will become two 4s and two 7s, or something.
But since we actually sat down and churned through this, we’re gonna give you the results. The last time the Birds drafted 15th overall, they traded up to get there, in 2003. Yes, you guessed it, they drafted Miami defensive end Jerome McDougle, the biggest first-round disaster of the Andy Reid era. If McDougle hadn’t gotten shot the night before he was supposed to head up to Lehigh in 2005, maybe he would have been an OK player. But really, McDougle didn’t seem poised for stardom his first two years. Kinda short and flabby-looking.
For 46th overall, I can offer you only East Carolina linebacker Jody Schulz, back in 1983. At 51st overall, I have nothing, The Eagles have not selected a player 51st overall in the last 50 years, at least.
Eighty-eighth overall offers only linebacker Lee Roy Caffey, from Texas A&M, in 1963. At 114th, who can forget center Bob Van Pelt, from Indiana, in 1967? Or end John Mason, from Stanford, the previous year? Or back Larry Smith, from Ole Miss, in ’64? (They used to just call guys backs and ends when they drafted them. That was a while ago.)
One-fifty-three, you know about. At 172, I found a useful player, fullback Cecil Martin, from Wisconsin, in 1999, and running back Joe Hayes, from Central State, in 1984.
One-ninety-four offers wideout Brandon Gibson, from Washington State, in 2009. Gibson didn’t help the Eagles but became a useful player for the Rams.
At 200, two years ago the Eagles took running back Charles Scott from LSU, a disappointment they traded to the Cardinals. Two years before that was linebacker Joe Mays, from North Dakota State, now a success with the Broncos.
The way I see it, the Birds have a critical task this year in reversing their trend of the last few years, in which the bottom of the draft has outperformed the top. They have three picks in the first two rounds, in fact, in the top 51 players taken. They need to hit on those. The DeMeco Ryans trade makes linebacker less of a critical need, but if Boston College's Luke Kuechly was sitting there at 15, I'd still take him. If the first pick isn't a lincebacker, one of the second-rounders still should be.
If the Eagles stick to Roseman's vow to take the best player available instead of reaching for need, we might be looking at a defensive tackle at 15 and who knows what at 46 and 51. It would be nice if the best player available at one of those spots happened to be a big wideout with talent, and the other an impact linebacker.
Fans are worried about the safety position, but I don't see a lot of help coming there. Fifteenth overall is probably too soon to take Alabama's Mark Barron, the best of a weak safety crop in this draft. That would be reaching for need again. If the Birds could draft a DT like Fletcher Cox or a WR like Michael Floyd at 15, then somehow turn those two second-rounders into a first-rounder in the 20s and take Barron, that might be OK. But I think Nate Allen can be a very good player, and even if Jaiquawn Jarrett doesn't work out, Kurt Coleman is a decent strong safety. I dunno if I would expend key resources for Barron.
There has been a lot of talk about whether the Birds will draft a quarterback. I can't imagine Ryan Tannehill will be there at 15th overall, and there is no other QB I'd take that high. (Of course, I'm assuming Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will go first and second overall.) How about somebody like Kirk Cousins or Brandon Weeden in the second round? I could see that.
If the Eagles were somehow to take a quarterback 15th overall, that would be a strong sign they expect Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg to be here to develop him. A second-round QB would be much less of a signal.