Eagles' all-time best & worst draft picks by round

Eagles' all-time best & worst draft picks by round

May 4, 2014, 8:00 am
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Draft position and a college pedigree aren't necessarily indicators of pro success. The Eagles once struck gold in the sixth round with an Abilene Christian product named Wilbert Montgomery. They also once struck out in the fourth round with Notre Dame standout Tony Brooks. (AP)

Wilbert Montgomery in the sixth round, Harold Carmichael in the seventh round, Seth Joyner in the eighth and Clyde Simmons in the ninth.

Some of greatest players in Eagles history have been drafted in the later rounds. In the case of Joyner and Simmons, they were drafted in rounds that don’t even exist anymore.

Conversely, some of the worst players in franchise history have been drafted in the first round. Some very high in the first round.

With the 2014 draft around the corner, let’s take a look at the best and worst players the Eagles have selected in each round of the draft.

First Round
BEST PICK: Chuck Bednarik, LB, 1949, Penn. One of four Hall of Famers the Eagles have taken in the first round, the first pick in the 1949 draft starred for the Eagles for 14 years and was part of both the 1949 and 1960 NFL Championship teams.

Honorable mentions: RB Steve Van Buren, QB Donovan McNabb, OT Bob Brown, WR Mike Quick, OT Tra Thomas.

WORST PICK: Jon Harris, DE, 1997, Virginia. The 25th pick in the 1993 draft was out of the league by 1995, finishing with two career sacks and eight games started.

Honorable mentions: Leonard Renfro, Michael Haddix, Jay Berwanger, Bernard Williams, Danny Watkins, Kevin Allen, Jerome McDougle.

Second Round
BEST PICK: Brian Dawkins, S, 1996, Clemson. A Nine-time Pro Bowler with a legit shot at the Hall of Fame, Dawkins was the defensive and inspirational leader of a team that reached the conference semifinals seven times from 2000 through 2008. He's one of only two players in NFL history with 35 or more interceptions and 25 or more sacks.

Honorable mentions: CB Eric Allen, WR DeSean Jackson, QB Randall Cunningham, LB Maxie Baughan, RB LeSean McCoy, S Wes Hopkins, CB Sheldon Brown

WORST PICK: Bruce Walker, DT, 1994, UCLA. Despite being the 37th pick in the 1994 draft, Walker was released in rookie training camp and never played a snap for the Eagles. He played in 11 games a year later for the Patriots and was out of the league at 24 years old. Very close between Walker and 1992 pick RB Siran Stacy, who spent one year in the NFL and had no carries.

Honorable mentions: RB Siran Stacy, S Jaiquawn Jarrett, LB Quintin Caver, WR Mike Bellamy, DE Victor Abiamiri.

Third Round
BEST PICK: Tommy McDonald, WR, 1957, Oklahoma. He spent only seven years with the Eagles but went to five Pro Bowls and went into the Hall of Fame in 1988.

Honorable mentions: LB Jeremiah Trotter, S Bill Bradley, RB Brian Westbrook, S Randy Logan, QB Nick Foles.

WORST PICK: Matt Patchan, OT, 1988, Miami. The 64th player taken in the 1988 draft never played a snap in the NFL.

Honorable mentions: RB Tony Hunt, DT Tommy Jeter, WR Billy McMullen, S Mike Reid, CB Derrick Frazier.

Fourth Round
BEST PICK: William Thomas, LB, 1991, Texas A&M. Willie T was under-rated while he was here, probably because we were all so used to Reggie, Clyde, Seth, Jerome, Wes, Eric Allen, etc. But Thomas is one of only two players in NFL history with at least 25 interceptions and 35 sacks (Ray Lewis is the other) and was a two-time Pro Bowler as an Eagle.

Honorable mentions: QB Sonny Jurgensen, DE Dennis Harrison, LB Frank LeMaster, LB Byron Evans, OL Todd Herremans, RB Correll Buckhalter.

WORST PICK: Tony Brooks, RB, 1992, Notre Dame. After rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns with a 5.4 per-carry average for the Fighting Irish, Brooks' NFL career lasted five games. He never had a carry and was out of the league by 1993.

Honorable mentions: S Jack Ikegwuonu, QB Mike Kafka, S Clarence Love, WR Gari Scott, QB Dave Barr, DE Jamaal Green, C Scott Peters.

Fifth Round
BEST PICK: Al Wistert, OT, 1943, Michigan. Wistert played his entire nine-year NFL career with the Eagles, earning first-team all-pro honors four times as a two-way lineman while simultaneously coaching high school football across the river in Riverside, N.J. Wistert captained the 1948 and 1949 NFL Championship teams and really should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Honorable mentions: E/DE Pete Pihos, TE Brent Celek, DE/LB Trent Cole, LB Ike Reese, WR Riley Cooper, QB A.J. Feeley, WR Calvin Williams.

WORST PICK: C.J. Gaddis, S, 2007, Clemson. Maybe because he was a safety out of Clemson, expectations were very high for Gaddis, who in college held Calvin Johnson without a reception in a game against Georgia Tech. But Gaddis never made the roster and actually never got into an NFL game in his career.

Honorable mentions: LB Whit Marshall, CB Corey Barlow, WR Freddie Milons, DB Macho Harris, DB Marvin Goodwin.

Sixth Round
BEST PICK: Wilbert Montgomery, RB, 1977, Abilene Christian. All Montgomery did in eight years with the Eagles was rush for 6,538 yards and 45 touchdowns, catch 266 passes for another 2,447 yards and 12 more TDs, make two Pro Bowls and lead the Eagles to the 1980 Super Bowl.

Honorable mentions: DT Andy Harmon, C Jason Kelce, OT Ken Reeves.

WORST PICK: John Frank, DE, 2000, Utah. Frank reported to training camp at Lehigh on July 18, 2000, then left the next day for personal reasons and announced his retirement.

Honorable mentions: QB Andy Hall, RB Thomas Hamner, QB Don McPherson.

Seventh Round
BEST PICK: Harold Carmichael, WR, 1971, SMU. Carmichael was the 161st pick in the 1971 draft but made four Pro Bowls with the Eagles, finishing as the greatest wide receiver in franchise history -- 590 receptions for 8,978 yards and 79 touchdowns in 13 seasons.

Honorable mentions: DB Jerry Norton, DE Carl Hairston, DT Charlie Johnson, DB Irv Cross.

WORST PICK: Bruce Perry, RB-CB, 2004, Maryland. Probably not fair to pick on a seventh-round pick for being a bad pick, but Perry was in Andy Reid’s doghouse from the get-go and had one of the worst preseason games ever in the 2006 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, with nine carries for 15 yards, two fumbles and a concussion. The Eagles tried to convert him to defensive back, but that didn’t work.

Honorable mention: LB Greg Lloyd, FB Nate Ilaoa, C Dominic Furio, G Melvin Thomas, OT Terry Strouf.

Later Rounds
BEST PICK: Seth Joyner, LB, 1986, UTEP, 8th-round pick. He was the 208th pick in the 1986 draft, but Joyner went on to become one of the most productive, playmaking outside linebackers of his generation, with 52 sacks, 24 interceptions and 26 forced fumbles. Should be in the Hall of Fame.

Honorable mentions: DE Clyde Simmons, DB Joe Lavender, RB Tom Woodeshick, CB Mark McMillian.

WORST PICK: Izel Jenkins, CB, 1988, North Carolina State, 11th-round pick. OK, there were worse late-round picks, but nobody in Eagles history has been as villified as Jenkins. His nickname was “Bagel Chips” since the usual phrase for lame cornerback play – “toast” – just wasn’t strong enough.

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