Defensive end Jerome McDougle can arguably go down as the biggest draft bust in Philadelphia Eagles history. In 2003 the Birds traded up from the 30th pick to the 15th pick to select Jerome, and gave up their 2nd round pick to do so. High expectations were placed the talented pass rusher from Miami, and Jerome was the player the front office picked to replace veteran Hugh Douglas.
McDougle not only never filled those shoes, but he rarely even stepped on the field. His NFL career so far is full of injuries, misfortune, and very little production.
In 2003 ankle, hip, and knee injuries kept him out of 8 games. In 2004 Jerome was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat which made him miss one game, and seemed to affect him on the field. He later suffered a knee sprain which kept him out of the final 4 games of the season. Then in 2005 McDougle was penciled in as the starting RDE, but he was shot in the abdomen during a robbery in Miami just days before training camp. He was luckily able to survive being shot, but further complications from the shooting called for emergency surgery and landed McDougle on the IR for the season. In 2006 McDougle suffered fractured ribs that kept him out of action for 3 weeks. In 2007 McDougle was yet again injured. He tore his triceps in the preseason against the Baltimore Ravens, and was then placed on the injured reserve again.
McDougle’s most memorable play as an Eagle is a really bad one. Against the Buccaneers in 2006, Jerome appeared to have a sack on Bucs’ QB Bruce Gradkowski, but was flagged 15 yards for grabbing his facemask. To make matters worse McDougle kicked the flag in disgust, and was then flagged an additional 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, for a total of 30 yards in penalties. The Eagles ended up losing the game 23-21.
Now despite years of not working out for the Iggles, I think letting him go was a huge mistake. This year he actually made it through an entire preseason healthy, and looked great. In every game McDougle was getting constant pressure, sacks, batting passes down, and just constantly hustling. all preseason coaches praised Jerome.
“He’s stepped up,” head coach Andy Reid said last week. “He looks strong and fast and quick. I think he’s playing very good right now.”
McDougle’s impressive camp and preseason was not enough for him to stay on the Eagles roster. He was released on the final cuts, and now the Birds will likely face McDougle twice this season. As predicted by many, he was signed by the New York Giants, and should help the Giants out. The division rival was in desperate need of a DE with Osi Umenyiora lost for the season due to injury, and Michael Strahan‘s retirement.
What makes no sense to me, is why did the Eagles keep an injured Victor Abiamiri over McDougle? VA dislocated his wrist, and suffered ligament damage. The injury required surgery to repair, and could cause him to miss up to 7 games this season. Abiamiri is a promising prospect, but really did not show that he was this valuable during his rookie year. A healthy focused McDougle for 16 weeks would be much better than an unproven Abiamiri for 10 weeks. At least that is how I look at it.
My biggest problem with this move is, the Eagles could have possibly bailed out the GMen. They lost their two best DE’s, and seemed to be in a near crisis situation. Now they have a former first round pick, looking better now than he ever did as valuable depth. In Steve Spagnuolo‘s defense McDougle should be used often in a rotation, and especially in 3rd and long nickle situations. I don’t expect big numbers, but I do think he could be a solid addition to the Giants.
I think this move was a big mistake for the Eagles. Everybody knew the Giants needed an end, and they could have prevented them from getting Jerome. I think they should have accepted that Abiamiri’s injury was too serious to keep on the roster, and placed him on IR. This would have given McDougle one final shot to prove his worth.
I really feel like Jerome has just been snake bitten thus far in his career. Every time he seemed ready to make name in the NFL something unfortunate happened to him. The biggest one of course was being shot in the gut in 2005. That is something that is just completely out of his control, and he is very lucky to even be alive. That fact that he is still playing football is a near miracle.
After years of not producing for the Eagles, I think Jerome McDougle will continue to be a pain to Philadelphia, by playing big for the division rival Giants.
Topics: 2003 NFL Draft, Bruce Gradkowski, Hugh Douglas, Jerome McDougle, Michael Strahan, New York Giants, Osi Umenyiora, Philadelphia Eagles, Retirement, Roster Cuts, Steve Spagnuolo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Victor Abiamiri