Calvin Johnson proves Eagles can’t base current strategy on past results

Calvin Johnson (L) and Derrick Moore (R) (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Calvin Johnson (L) and Derrick Moore (R) (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Calvin Johnson #21, Eagles draft (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

The Eagles are in the same situation the Lions were in 15 years ago.

Class of 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Calvin Johnson boasts a stat line that any young wide receiver entering the NFL dreams of: nine seasons, 731 receptions, 11,619 receiving yards, 83 touchdowns, and six trips to the Pro Bowl. Who are we kidding? There are some veterans that would kill for that type of career. The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t see Johnson much, but when they did, he was a pain in the arse.

In five career games versus the Birds, the Eagles hold a winning record, three wins versus only two losses, but the man affectionately referred to as Megatron always seemed to be an issue.

He hauled in 23 receptions that resulted in 388 yards and four touchdowns in the five games that he appeared in with Philly on the other sideline. That includes an eight-catch, three-touchdown beatdown in his final appearance versus the Birds, a game unaffectionately remembered as The Thanksgiving Day Massacre.

Here’s an interesting nugget. History could have been written a lot differently. Once upon a time, though no one wants to admit this now, there was once this narrative that the Detroit Lions should ignore Johnson and draft someone else.

Why? Get this. The Lions had already taken three wide receivers in three of the previous four drafts that preceded 2007’s selection meeting, and there was some concern that it would be wise to ignore the draft’s best wideout, Johnson, and address other needs. Stop us if any of this sounds familiar.

The Eagles now have two first-round draft choices in the 2022 NFL Draft, and they have no margin for error, but there have been questions about whether or not they should take another wide receiver in Round 1 if they’re faced with that dilemma.

Some say Chris Olave, Drake London, Treylon Burks, and Jameson Williams are among their best first-round options. Many say the need for adding a wide receiver can wait. It’s an interesting discussion. No one knows what this team will wind up doing, but here are two lessons the Eagles can learn from the Detroit Lions’ decision to take Calvin Johnson despite their hesitation to do so.