Cincinnati Bearcats football has been kind to the Philadelphia Eagles

Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool)
Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool) /

It’s been easy to forget this from time to time, but the job description of an NFL general manager carries more responsibility than drawing up contract extensions, making trades, and scribbling a collegiate star’s name on a draft card. We’re all well aware of something though. The results that come from each of those tasks are how we grade every professional football team’s G.M. in the court of public opinion. Look no further than Philadelphia Eagles vice president/G.M. Howie Roseman if you need evidence of that one.

Prior to the most recent offseason, Howie has taken body blows like ‘The Italian Stallion’ in a good Rocky movie. He’s been criticized for past mistakes, particularly when it comes to draft picks and how they’ve worked out (or, in some cases, because they haven’t), but these days, his approval rating seems to be on the rise.

Remember those awesome cartoons that we used to watch? Remember when guys would get a really great idea and a light bulb would pop up over their heads? That’s kind of what happened to Howie!

In 2021, he added DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson from the then-defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide in Rounds 1 and 2 respectively. This past April, he added another Unanimous All-American and College Football Playoff National Championship Game winner in Jordan Davis on the selection meeting’s first night.

Cam Jurgens, the eventual successor for Jason Kelce was taken in Round 2. Nakobe Dean, Davis’ teammate at Georgia, was the choice in Round 3.

Yes, the light bulb has come on, and Howie has learned what a lot of NFL franchises learned a while ago. If you want talented players on your NFL roster, take the best players from college football’s best teams, but there’s another school he may need to raid more often, the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Yes… We said Cincinnati!

Jason Kelce may be the dean on this list, but the Cincinnati Bearcats have been kind to the Philadelphia Eagles.

There are many Eagles fans who wouldn’t mind if Philly drafted former Crimson Tide and Bulldog players every year, but here’s a theory. It’s one that our staff at Inside The Iggles has tossed back and forth for a while.

Raiding the Bearcats from time to time wouldn’t be a bad thing either, especially if the Birds do so in later rounds. Every time they’ve gone with that theory, things have worked out well. Just check out some of these names, and try to keep yourselves from smiling.

Trent Cole (2005–2014)

The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Trent Cole in Round 5 of 2005’s NFL Draft. We can officially say with confidence that decision worked out pretty well for them. Ten seasons in the midnight green led to Trent being named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s NFL All-Rookie Team in 2005.

He wound up on two Pro Bowl rosters (2007 and 2009). He was named a Second-team All-Pro in 2009 and boasts 569 tackles, 85.5 sacks, and an interception (one he took to the house to sink the New York Giants once) as well as 16 pass breakups and 19 forced fumbles in 155 regular-season games with 145 starts during his ten-year run in Philly.

Oh, and as a special added bonus, Trent added 45 more tackles and 2.5 more sacks in eight career playoff games. Not bad for a fifth-rounder huh? It’s no wonder they went snooping around Cincy’s roster again in 2007.

Brent Celek (2007-2017)

Two years after drafting Cole, Philly went back to the Bearcats’ well in Round 5 again. This time the selection was Brent Celek who wound up being one of the best tight ends the Eagles have ever employed.

Try 184 games, 139 starts, 425 receptions, 5,255 receiving yards, and 34 touchdowns on for size (those numbers include nine playoff games with seven postseason starts).

Brent was a beast, but the valedictorian of this class of former Bearcats is one of the most beloved Birds of all time. We’re almost positive that you know who that is.

Jason Kelce  (2011-???)

We know Jason Kelce won’t play forever, but it sometimes feels as though he could if he wanted to. The resume speaks for itself, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t share it here:

Five Pro Bowl nods (2014, 2016, 2019–2021), four First-Team All-Pro designations (2017–2019, 2021), 159 games played during the regular season, another eight played in the postseason, and he’s started every single one of them. It’s amazing when you think about the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles found him in Round 6 way back in 2011.

Sure, the SEC has been a breeding ground for NFL talent for a long time. Yes, Alabama and Georgia have both been two of pro football’s better farm systems. Yes, it’s also maddening to know that, prior to the selection of DeVonta, Landon, and Jalen Hurts, for whatever reason, Philly hadn’t taken anyone from The Tide since they took a flier and made Freddie Milons the 162nd-overall selection during Round 5 of the 2002 NFL Draft.

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(That is if you still recognize Jalen as a member of The Tide despite finishing his college football career at Oklahoma with the Sooners).

It’s been nice to watch Howie’s evolution. Seeing the Philadelphia Eagles put some nice drafts together has been a breath of fresh air over the past two seasons, but the Eagles shouldn’t forget about Cincinnati. Every time they’ve gambled with a Bearcat, they’ve cashed in big, and based on history, we wouldn’t mind if they took the same winning lottery tickets and played them again.