Friday, February 5, 2016

Evaluating 1st-round picks under Reid

Since Andy Reid has been in town, the Eagles have had 12 drafts and have made 10 first-round picks.

Evaluating 1st-round picks under Reid

Andy Reid has made ten first round picks during his tenure with the Eagles. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)
Andy Reid has made ten first round picks during his tenure with the Eagles. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)

Since Andy Reid has been in town, the Eagles have had 12 drafts and have made 10 first-round picks.

Today, let's take a break from looking ahead to this month's draft and look back at how the Eagles have fared with their first-round picks over the years.

Here's the list of selections:

Year Player Position School Overall Pick
1999 Donovan McNabb QB Syracuse 2
2000 Corey Simon DT Florida State 6
2001 Freddie Mitchell WR UCLA 25
2002 Lito Sheppard CB Florida 26
2003 Jerome McDougle DE Miami 15
2004 Shawn Andrews OL Arkansas 16
2005 Mike Patterson DT USC 31
2006 Brodrick Bunkley DT Florida State 14
2009 Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri 19
2010 Brandon Graham DE Michigan
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Ten total picks: five defensive linemen (three DTs, two DEs); two wide receivers, one cornerback, one offensive lineman and one quarterback.

Here are some notes on how the picks break down:

** The Reid era started out with the McNabb pick. While McNabb never landed the ultimate prize here, there's no arguing that this selection was a winner, especially when you look at how things could have gone.

Five of the first 12 picks that year were quarterbacks: Tim Couch (1 to Cleveland); McNabb (2 to Philly); Akili Smith (3 to Cincinnati); Daunte Culpepper (11 to Minnesota); and Cade McNown (12 to Chicago). 

McNabb had far and away the best career, becoming the franchise leader in wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns and a variety of other categories. He became the second Eagles quarterback to get to a Super Bowl and was the only QB from the '99 class to get there.

** The Eagles got Sheppard with the 26th pick in 2002. He started 61 games here and made a pair of Pro Bowls. Put him in the "good pick" category.

** While things ended badly with Simon, he still belongs in the "good pick" category too. He started all but two games in his five seasons with the Eagles and made the Pro Bowl in 2003. Those were really good Eagles teams; Simon was a starting defensive tackle from 2000-2004 as the Birds went 59-21, getting to the NFC championship three times and the Super Bowl once. He had 17 sacks in his first two seasons and 32 overall before the Eagles cut him following the 2004 season.

** Maclin's only played two seasons, but it looks like the Eagles were smart to move up and snatch him in 2009. As I explained back in February, Maclin's production stacks up favorably to his peers, and he's put together one of the more impressive starts for a wide receiver in Eagles franchise history.

** And then there are the busts. The two guys that stand out are Mitchell and McDougle. Mitchell had just 90 catches for 1,263 yards in four seasons (and has been annoying us ever since...).

Five picks after the Eagles took Mitchell, the Colts took Reggie Wayne, who's piled up 787 catches for 10,748 yards and 69 touchdowns over the years. Four other receivers were taken in the first round in 2001: David Terrell (8 to Chicago); Koren Robinson (9 to Seattle); Rod Gardner (15 to Washington); and Santana Moss (16 to the Jets). Of that group, only Moss went on to have a career worthy of a first-round pick.

** In his first two seasons, McDougle was active for 19 games (zero starts) and had two sacks. In the summer of 2005, he was shot and missed the entire season. When he returned in 2006, McDougle appeared in 14 games and had one sack. He was taken with the 15th overall pick in 2003, but never started a game. At the time, the Eagles were set at safety with Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis, but it's worth at least mentioning that the Steelers took Troy Polamalu one pick after the Eagles took McDougle.

** It's obviously too early to judge Graham, and the Eagles' other three first-round picks are a little more difficult to judge.

Let's start with the Andrews selection in 2004. Seven years later, mention Andrews' name to Eagles fans and you'll likely see steam begin to come out of their ears. But to label him a complete bust is unfair. Andrews started 47 of 48 games from 2005 to 2007 and made two Pro Bowls. When he was on the field, he was among the elite at his position. But as we know, the problem after '07 was that he could never stay healthy.

** And finally, the two guys that seem to always be paired together: Patterson and Bunkley. They were drafted to anchor the interior of the Eagles' line in consecutive years (2005 and 2006). Neither has been a bust, but neither has made a Pro Bowl.

Considering that Patterson wasn't selected until the 31st overall pick, he's had a good career here. Patterson's been durable, having never missed a game due to injury in the last six years. He started 77 games from 2006-2010. Patterson has shown flashes of being a Pro Bowl-caliber defensive tackle, but has never quite gotten there. At this point, we probably know what he is - a good run-stuffer, who spends third downs and other passing downs on the sidelines.

** Like Patterson, Bunkley (who had nine sacks in his final year at Florida State), heads to the sidelines in pass-rushing situations. He battled through an elbow injury last season, but was ineffective and not nearly as productive as Antonio Dixon. In five NFL seasons, Bunkley has had some impressive stretches, but has not put it all together.

** So there you have it. Ten first-round picks in 12 seasons. Four Pro Bowlers (McNabb, Sheppard, Simon, Andrews); three starters (Patterson, Bunkley, Maclin); two busts (Mitchell, McDougle); and one unknown (Graham).

You'll notice that I didn't pay much attention to 2007 or 2008 here. Later this week, I'll revisit some of the trades that involved first-round picks.

And, in case you missed it over the weekend, I rounded up the latest mock drafts.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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