Eagles draft history at pick No. 22: The good, bad, and ugly

Take a walk down memory lane with us, won't you?
Ben Johnson. Philadelphia Eagles
Ben Johnson. Philadelphia Eagles / Mike Powell/GettyImages

April 25th... It's a date that we've had circled on our calendars since... well... April of 2023. The Philadelphia Eagles sent us all to bed smiling after the first night of last year's NFL Draft, adding what might be the best player of last year's class (Jalen Carter) and, as an added bonus, someone we would have been satisfied with had we taken him earlier that same evening (Nolan Smith).

One year later, theories about how well they did vary. Here's our evaluation. They were rookies. Carter wasn't used to the NFL's long grind, and Philly may have relied on him too much too early. That being said, he was, without question, one of last season's top rookies, but he hit the wall late.

Philly didn't get much out of Smith, but they didn't need much other than special teams help because they still had Haason Reddick, but now the two-time Pro Bowler is gone, and Smith will be expected to shine.

There were other nice surprises among the Eagles' 2023 draftees: Tyler Steen, Sydney Brown, and Kelee Ringo for example. Fingers are crossed that the 2024 class brings its own star power.

If nothing changes, the Birds are armed with eight draft choices. That includes three of the first 53. The first is the 22nd overall selection on night one.

Here's a look at the Eagles' history with the 22nd-overall selection

The 2024-2025 NFL season doubles as the Philadelphia Eagles' 92nd of existence. They have selected 22nd overall twice in franchise history.

They also traded the 22nd choice once, to the Indianapolis Colts in 1989. It's worth noting they selected 21st in 1979 and 23rd in 1980. Both picks were significant for two different reasons.

Jerry Robinson, a linebacker from UCLA, was the choice in '79. That was the last time Philly took a linebacker in Round 1.

Roynell Young's selection in 1980 marked the first time in their history that a defensive back was the first-round choice. They'd select a DB in Round 1 for the second time in 1990.

The good: Ben Smith, defensive back (1990)

If we distinguish the 'good', 'bad', and 'ugly' relating to what the Eagles have done with the 22nd selection, taking Ben Smith (Georgia) would probably qualify as the best choice for the 'good' category. A product of the Georgia Bulldogs, he earned a spot on the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team to close a stellar first season, this after earning Second-Team All-American and First-team All-SEC honors after his final run at the NCAA level.

Smith wasn't with the Eagles long. He played 40 games in total spanning three seasons with 27 starts. That includes one postseason game. He racked up 165 tackles and five interceptions before finishing his career with the Denver Broncos (1994) and the Arizona Cardinals. Unfortunately, injuries robbed him of a better career.

The bad: Andre Dillard, offensive tackle (2019)

Okay, let's keep this as positive as possible. We all know Andre Dillard's story. Howie Roseman selected him but never met him, but we understood the thought process at the time. His final season with the Washington State Cougars produced a First-Team All-Pac-12 nod.

It felt like he could be the heir apparent to Jason Peters, but we all know how that turned out. Dillard's career in Philly was marred by disappointment and injury, and Philly found their next great tackle in Jordan Mailata, a seventh-rounder they added a year earlier.

The ugly: Jalen Reagor was actually the 21st selection in 2020, but it's the man who was taken at 22 that makes this pick worse.

Okay, so we cheated. Sue us. No, Jalen Reagor wasn't the 22nd overall selection in 2020. He was the 21st, but this one stung for a while because of who was taken 22nd.

Justin Jefferson was taken right after Reagor by the Minnesota Vikings. He vowed everyone who overlooked him would pay, and he has kept that promise.

Let's end those on a high note because again, we're keeping things positive here. Had Philly not taken Reagor in 2020, Jefferson would probably be here, but that means DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown probably aren't. With that being said, we can rest easy because things worked out and the Eagles gave us a couple of make-up dates.

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