I decided to really take a close look at how good the Eagles have been at finding talent in the NFL draft. I will go over every draft since Andy Reid has been here, and give each player a grade.
Now keep in mind Andy Reid has only technically been the GM since 2002, but he has always had a lot of input on who gets drafted.
Lets start with 1999:
Round 1, Pick 2 – QB Donovan McNabb, Syracuse
As we all know McNabb is the Eagles franchise QB. what makes this pick so great is the fact that all of the other QBs in this draft flopped. Tim Couch, Akili Smith, and Cade McKnown were all colossal busts. Even Daunte Culpepper turned out to be an average QB once he lost Randy Moss. Also everybody knows the Ricky Williams love fest that took place during that draft, and if the Eagles had listened to the fans Andy Reid would be sitting with them right now.
McNabb has not won Philadelphia a Super Bowl yet, but he has won a ton of football games as the starting QB. Since he has been drafted the Eagles have won 6 division titles, been to 4 NFC Championship games, and made it to Super Bowl XXXIX. If New England had not cheated there would probably be a statue of 5ive outside of the Linc.
Round 2, Pick 35 – LB Barry Gardner, Northwestern
Gardner had big expectations, but never lived up to them in Philadelphia. In 2002 the Eagles let go of Jeremiah Trotter, and gave the MLB spot up to Gardner(rotated with Levon Kirkland). Gardner played well at times, but made a lot of mistakes. He never really seemed to get a complete understanding of Jim Johnson’s defense. Barry will always be remembered for the 2002 NFC Championship game against Tampa Bay where he had an angle on WR Joe Jurevicous, but failed to make the tackle. I can still see Jurevicous running down Broad Street.
Gardner bounced around the league a few times after leaving the Eagles, and is currently retired. He had a few solid years for the Browns, but nothing that great. He managed to play in the NFL a total of 8 years, which is well above the NFL average.
Round 3, Pick 64 – G Doug Brzezinski, Boston College
Brzezinski started all 16 games in 1999, but lost his starting job in 2000 due to inconsistent play. He then did not play much for the next two years, but did start 5 games in 2002 due to injury(played pretty well). Brzezinski left as a free agent to the Carolina Panthers in 2003, and played two seasons with the Panthers. Doug is no longer playing in the NFL.
Round 4, Pick 97 – T John Welbourn, California
This was actually a pretty solid pick. Once you get into the later rounds, the success rate percentage really drops low. Welbourn started at tackle and guard for the Eagles for 4 years, and was decent during that time(better at guard than tackle). He is not a Pro Bowler, but has managed to stick around in the league for 9 years. Welbourn appeared to blow his assignment in the 2003 NFC Championship game on a play where Donovan McNabb got hurt. During that off season he publicly ripped the Eagles about his contract, and was shipped to Kansas City for a third round pick(Ryan Moats), and a 5th round pick(Thomas Tapeh). Welbourn has been solid for KC, but has missed some time with injuries and tested positive for steroids.
Round 4, Pick 128 – S Damon Moore, Ohio State
Damon was a great special teams player, and a decent starting SS. He really fell out of favor with the Eagles, when he was arrested for animal cruelty for abandoning his dog in the woods. Moore then signed as a free agent with the Bears, but suffered an ACL tear which cut his career short.
Round 4, Pick 130 – WR Na Brown, North Carolina
Putting it in a nice way, Na Brown never paned out in the NFL. He was once a mini camp sensation who was labeled as having “great hands”, but Na never showed this ability on the field. a quickly showed that he was just not good enough when it came time to play actual games. The biggest catch of his short career was a TD in the Wild Card playoff win against Tampa Bay in 2000.
Round 6, Pick 162 – FB Cecil Martin, Wisconsin
Cecil was the Birds starting full back for three years after being drafted. He was a big physical lead blocker, and could catch the ball well. The main problem was once he caught the ball he really could not do anything with it. 2001 was his best year, and the biggest moment of his career would have the be the touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears. Martin was let go in 2003, and only played 1 game with the Buccaneers before retiring.
Round 6, Pick 201 – WR Troy Smith, East Carolina
Swing and a miss. Troy Smith played in one game during his career, and had 1 catch for 14 yards. He was then cut, and has never played again in the NFL. You can mark him down as a flop.
Round 7, Pick 208 – TE Jed Weaver, Oregon
Jed only played 1 year with the Iggles, but he managed to stay in the NFL for 6 years. For a 7th round pick, that is not too bad. Weaver was on the 2004 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots roster that beat cheated the Eagles.
Round 7, Pick 251 – DT Pernell Davis, Alabama-Birmingham
Pernell Davis was on the Birds roster for two years, but he never even registered a tackle. He dressed for 2 games in his career.
Overall this draft did not produce a ton of great players, but the Eagles did land a franchise QB. Many of these players turned into starters, but outside of McNabb only John Welbourn remains in the NFL.
Getting a great quarterback in a draft with so many quarterback busts carries this draft grade to a B-.
Topics: Akili Smith, Barry Gardner, Cade McKnown, Carolina Panthers, Cecil Martin, Chicago Bears, Damon Moore, Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, Doug Brzezinski, Jed Weaver, John Welbourn, Na Brown, New England Patriots, Pernell Davis, Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl XXXIX, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Couch, Troy Smith