With the draft about a month away, I thought it would be fun to look at how the Eagles' drafts have went since 2008, which is four years worth of picks. In looking at the last four drafts, I noticed that the Eagles have done significantly well in the seventh round.
The only other round that the Eagles have had recent success in is the second round, where they grabbed Desean Jackson and Trevor Laws in 2008, Lesean McCoy in 2009, Nate Allen in 2010 and Jaiquawn Jarrett in 2011. While the jury is still out on Allen and Jarrett, there is no doubt that two superstar players in Round 2 over a four-year period is an impressive achievement. Laws has also been a solid contributor, so that's three decent players in that round.
One could easily make the argument that the Eagles' next best round would be the seventh, where Philadelphia has drafted King Dunlap, Kurt Coleman, Moise Fokou and Jamar Chaney over the last four years. While they also had a couple misses, that is four players who started at least a few games for the team last season. While none of them are bona fide superstars, they're all solid contributors.
If you throw in Stanley Havili and Greg Lloyd, who were last year's picks, that brings the total up to six players who are still around the team. That's the most of any round in the draft over the last four seasons.
Let's take a closer look at the other rounds over that same time period. In the sixth round, the Eagles scored with Brian Rolle and Jason Kelce last year, but all their other picks didn't amount to much. They did draft WR Brandon Gibson in 2009, who never contributed to the Eagles but was traded along with a draft pick for Will Weatherspoon. The Eagles front office does get some credit here for getting something in return for their draft selection.
The fifth round has been completely awful, as not one player taken in the fifth round outside of Riley Cooper has done anything for the team since 2008. The names include Julian Vandervele (2011), Ricky Sapp (2010), Cornelius Ingram, Victor Harris and Fenuki Tupou, all in 2009. They did not have a fifth round pick in 2008 (thankfully).
Round 4 has not been much better. The picks were Mike McGlynn, Quintin Demps, Jack Ikegwuonu (bonus points if you can pronounce his name), plus Trevard Lindley and Casey Matthews. Matthews was on the team last season and may go on to be a solid player in this league, but the rest of them have done little or nothing.
Perhaps the most pathetic round has been the third, which have featured Curtis Marsh, Daniel Te'o-Neisheim and Bryan Smith. Marsh had a very small role last season and the latter two are no longer with the team. As a matter of fact, the third round has been notoriously bad for the Eagles over the last 10 years, as the only really good player they ever selected was Brian Westbrook in 2002.
Before the comments start, yes, they took Stewart Bradley in the third round in 2007, but I would not call him a really good player. He had potential but other than a few good games, never really lived up to it. If you don't believe me, check out his numbers in Arizona last year.
That leaves just the first round, which have consisted of Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Graham and Danny Watkins. While all three are with the team, only one has emerged as worthy of a first-round pick (Maclin).
So after looking at all the picks in the last four years, the seventh round has produced the most players that are still with the team. It has also produced four players who started at least one game last year, which is amazing.
Now the question is what does this say about the Eagles? Does it say that this team drafts poorly? I would say for the most part, it does. The Eagles have done okay in the first round, great in the second and poor in every other round except the seventh, where they were better than any team in the league.
However, is the goal to be the best team in the league at drafting in the seventh round? That is kind of like being the best 8-8 team in the league, which is what the Eagles were in 2011.
Perhaps the key to the team's future is getting more seventh-round picks. Trading down has never looked so great!