Next week at Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Philadelphia Eagles—barring a trade down—will be on the clock with a top-five pick in the NFL draft for the first time this century. And just like in 1999, when they selected Donovan McNabb second overall, they also hold the 35th selection in this year's draft.
To give you a feel for the types of players that come in those two spots, let's go down history lane.
Of the 13 picks charted, six became busts (in red), four delivered and became stars (in blue) and three still have something to prove before we can make a judgement (in green).
The good news is that only one of the last five No. 4 overall picks has failed to live up to expectations. And Adams, who was picked six years ago in this spot, died unexpectedly due to a heart condition before having a chance to get his career back on track in Chicago. However, he failed to meet expectations in Tampa.
It has to be encouraging that six of these guys are playing significant roles on the teams that drafted them, with Smith still playing a major role but on his second NFL team. Discount those first three years, which were spoiled by Robertson, Williams and Warrick, and the success rate of No. 4 overall picks isn't too shabby.
Eagles fans would certainly be down with landing another Kalil or Ferguson or Smith, but what about Williams and Rivers? They won't be looking for backs or receivers, so forget Green and McFadden, and forget the busts. But what if we told you Eric Fisher would be the next Trent Williams? Would you want him? And what if Geno Smith was the next Philip Rivers?
Would those scenarios be positive? I think they would be, but I'm sure the fanbase is split on both.
As for Round 2...
Nobody except Price is a clear mistake. Brown, Edwards and Engleberger were still productive role players on the teams that drafted them, and they didn't have the expectations first-round picks carried.
I put Sears in blue because his career was off to a promising start before being permanently derailed due to a neurological condition related to concussions. He didn't under-perform.
But what's really encouraging is that four of the last 13 No. 35 overall picks—Dalton, Flowers, Tillman and Crumpler—have become stars. Philly would love it if, say, E.J. Manuel or Jonathan Cyprien or Tyler Eifert would come to the Eagles in this spot and follow in those footsteps.
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