One current Eagles star and 4 former favorites who were drafted from FCS schools

NFL teams don't always have to come from a big-name school. Look no further than the Eagles' organization for evidence.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Each year, we see the pre-draft evaluation process evolve. NFL franchises don't have to limit their search to big-time players who cut their teeth at big-time programs. Gifted players are lending their talents to FCS schools and smaller institutions, and the Philadelphia Eagles always stay plugged into the pipeline.

Philadelphia hasn't drafted a player from an FCS school in five years. They may not do so during the coming NFL Draft, but one can never tell. There is always the possibility.

Just for kicks, let's take a walk down memory lane. Here are four Eagles who were drafted from an FCS program.

Dallas Goedert: South Dakota State

The last time Philly selected a player not from an FBS school was in 2018. Tight end Dallas Goedert out of South Dakota State University was the selection.

Philadelphia was also home to Zach Ertz at the time. He and Goedert spent a few seasons together before Zach was traded and Dallas became his true successor in 2021. When given the chance, the former JackRabbit proved he could be a reliable target in Philly's offense.

In six seasons with the Birds, Godert has hauled in 307 receptions during the regular season for 3,589 yards, and he has scored 22 touchdowns. He has recorded over 100 receiving yards in four career games.

He has dealt with injuries these past couple of seasons. That affected his production. The best part about his entry into the NFL, however, was the introduction by Eagles legend David Akers.

Carson Wentz: North Dakota State

Two years before Philly drafted Dallas Goedert, they would select Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State University. He was the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

Philly gave up a lot to get the former Bison quarterback. They shipped three picks in 2016, a first-rounder in 2017, and a second-rounder in 2018 to the Cleveland Browns for the right to pick second in Round 1.

Wentz also made history that night, as he became the highest-drafted FCS quarterback in the NFL Draft's history and was the first one selected since Joe Flacco was taken out of Delaware in 2008.

In the first two seasons of his career, Carson looked like the franchise quarterback the team was looking for, as he started every game in his rookie year and had an MVP-type year in his sophomore season before getting hurt in 2017.

We all know how that ended. Nick Foles stepped in and helped the Birds complete their Super Bowl run.

Injuries would become a constant part of his story in the next couple of years, but he would still break records, becoming the first quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards without one of his wide receivers eclipsing the 500-yard mark (2019). By the way, Philadelphia made the playoffs that year.

In 2020, Wentz didn't get much help from his offensive line as he was sacked 50 times. His numbers were not great though: 2,620 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions in 12 games.

Jalen Hurts would take over as the starting quarterback in Week 13 of that season, and Carson never earned the job back again.

The former NDSU quarterback was traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick and a 2022 conditional first-rounder. The trade ended up giving so much to the Eagles as they benefited from the move for several seasons.

Brian Westbrook: Villanova

Andy Reid found a future two-time Pro Bowler and First-team All-Pro running from the FCS level when he drafted Brian Westbrook out of Villanova University in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft.

The former Wildcats star might have been undersized for a standard NFL running back (five-foot-eight, 200 pounds), but after sharing carries in his first two seasons with Duce Staley, Correll Buckhalter, and Dorsey Levens, it would become the Westbrook show in the backfield in 2004.

Westbrook earned 812 yards on 177 carries with three rushing touchdowns. He also caught 73 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns while helping the Birds to a 13-3 record in the regular season. The Eagles qualified for the Super Bowl that year as B-West collected 210 rushing yards and caught 17 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns during the run.

Westbrook would collect back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2005 and 2006 and tallied a combined 2,550 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He also stacked 1,470 receiving yards and nine touchdowns during that time. He ended his time in the Midnight Green after earning 5,995 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns in eight seasons.

Jeremiah Trotter: Stephen F. Austin State University

In 1998, Ray Rhodes saw Jeremiah Trotter's potential, so the Birds drafted him in the third round of the NFL Draft out of the FCS-level Stephen F. Austin football program.

Andy Reid came to town in 1999 and brought Jim Johnson with him. The latter's aggressive defensive style brought out the best in Trotter as he earned 358 total tackles (284 were solo) to go along with nine sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, five interceptions, and two pick-sixes from 1999-2001. 

The Axe Man would be named to the Pro Bowl in 2000 and 2001. He would also be named as a First-Team and Second-Team All-Pro during that span.

After an ugly episode with the front office involving the franchise tag, 'Trot' spent a couple of seasons away from the Eagles with Washington (2002 and 2003) before rejoining the team in 2004. He would deliver Pro Bowl years in 2004 and 2005 while tallying 190 tackles (161 solo), two sacks, two forced fumbles, and one interception.

Trotter spent one more season in Philadelphia (2009) and is a member of the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame after spending eight seasons with the team.