NFL Draft 2011: 10 Best Late-Round Draft Picks in Eagles History
Every year, there are a few lucky NFL teams that manage to discover a diamond in the rough in the later rounds of the draft. Often times, these players' exceptional value doesn't become apparent until later in their careers, but the wait is certainly worth the investment.
Nowadays, everyone is familiar with one the most prolific of these diamonds in the rough, Tom Brady, who the Patriots managed to steal away in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. While the history of Eagles late-round draft picks doesn't boast a player quite like Brady, there have been several picks over the years who far exceeded their expected value.
Here are 10 such men, all of whom were once vastly underrated, who still managed to show the world their talent and secure their place in Philadelphia Eagles history.
10: Cris Carter (Fourth Round: Supplemental)
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Chosen in the fourth round of the 1987 supplemental draft, wide receiver Cris Carter spent three seasons with the Eagles before off-the-field issues ended his tenure in Philadelphia.
Although he would later become an eight-time Pro Bowler and Hall-of-Fame candidate as a member of the Vikings, Cater still managed to make a significant impact on the Eagles during his short time with the team.
The 1988 season marked his breakout, in which Carter caught 39 passes for 761 yards and six touchdowns and led the Eagles to a division title. Carter again led the team to the playoffs in 1989, hauling in 45 passes for 605 yards and a whopping 11 touchdowns.
9: Herman Edwards (Undrafted)
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Although now most known for his former role as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and his current role as an analyst for ESPN, ex-cornerback Herman Edwards was once part of a play that changed the game of football forever.
After going undrafted in the 1977 draft, Edwards was picked up by the Eagles, where he went on to see action in the next 135 consecutive games. In addition to racking up 33 career interceptions (just one short of the franchise record), Edwards was the key player in the legendary "Miracle at the Meadowlands" play.
During a 1978 matchup against the Giants, the Eagles found themselves down 17-12 with the ball in the Giants' possession in the final seconds of the game. Instead of kneeling down like present-day players are known to do, Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik decided to attempt a handoff and fumbled the ball.
Edwards was there in a flash, scooping up the ball and scampering 26 yards, untouched, for the game-winning score.
It was that play that led to the creation of the "Victory Formation" or, as it was fondly dubbed by the Eagles, the "Herman Edwards play."
Not bad for a guy who was initially passed up by 28 teams.
8: Seth Joyner (Eighth Round)
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Linebacker Seth Joyner's road to football greatness was certainly a rocky one. After falling to the eighth round of the 1986 draft, Joyner was actually cut during that summer's training camp.
Re-signed later in the season, Joyner made the most of his second chance, plowing through anything that stood in his way. At the end of his eight-year career in Philadelphia, he had accumulated a franchise record 52 sacks, as well as two Pro Bowl selections.
Joyner's most famous game came in a 1991 matchup against the Houston Oilers, where he reportedly played through a 102-degree fever yet still managed to record eight tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks. Not surprisingly, he was selected as that year's Sports Illustrated's NFL Player of the Year.
7: Trent Cole (Fifth Round)
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Although his career is far from over, defensive end Trent Cole's success after being selected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft certainly qualifies him to appear on this list.
Over six seasons with the Eagles, Cole has been one of the most stable and productive pieces of the Philadelphia defense, tallying 57 sacks. He has also earned his way to two Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL's "All-Rookie" team in 2005.
Who knows how far Cole's sack total will climb over the next few seasons, but one thing is certain: He has already far exceeded expectations as a fifth-round pick.
6: Wilbert Montgomery (Sixth Round)
For a sixth-round pick in the 1977 draft, halfback Wilbert Montgomery certainly shattered a lot of expectations.
During his eight years in Philadelphia, Montgomery developed into one of the most productive backs in team history, eventually breaking an eye-popping seven franchise rushing records: career attempts (1,465); rushing yards (6,538); attempts in a season (338 in 1979); rushing yards in a season (1,512 in 1979); career 100-yard rushing games (26); 100-yard rushing games in a season (eight in 1981); and touchdowns in a game (four).
In addition to garnering two Pro Bowl selections, Montgomery became one of the inaugural members of the Philadelphia Eagles' honor roll in 1987, joining fellow running back legends Steve Van Buren and Ollie Matson.
5: Harold Carmichael (Seventh Round)
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From a seventh-round pick to an inaugural member of the Philadelphia Eagles' Honor Roll, wide receiver Harold Carmichael had a career as big as his immense 6'8" frame.
Over the course of his 13 years in Philadelphia, Carmichael was one of the integral parts that turned a 3-10-1 record team into the NFC champions of 1980.
In addition to appearing in four Pro Bowls, Carmichael accumulated 79 career touchdown receptions, ranking 18th on the NFL's all-time list. To this day, he remains one of the most talented receivers to ever grace the Eagles' depth chart.
4: Tom Brookshier (10th Round)
From a humble beginning as a 10th-round pick, defensive back Tom Brookshier quickly rose through the ranks to enjoy a seven-year career in Philadelphia.
Despite missing two years in 1954 and 1955 to serve in the Air Force, Brookshier managed to make significant contributions to the team, racking up 20 interceptions and two Pro Bowl selections. He was also a starter on the Eagles' 1960 NFL championship team.
After suffering a compound leg fracture in 1961 that ended his time in the NFL, Brookshier turned his sights to football commentary, where he paired with Pat Summerall and enjoyed a successful 25-year career.
His No. 40 jersey later became one of only seven numbers that the Eagles retired.
3: Al Wistert (Fifth Round)
Turning back the clock to the 1943 draft, we find the talented Al "Ox" Wistert, who the Eagles were able to snag in the fifth round.
A prolific offensive tackle at the University of Michigan, Wistert's skills transitioned well to the professional level, where he excelled for nine seasons. During that time, he was part of an offensive line that paved the way for quarterback Tommy Thompson and halfback Steve Van Buren to win back-to-back NFL Championships in 1948 and 1949.
A five-time team captain, Wistert was also selected to the NFL's first Pro Bowl in 1950. He was later selected to the Eagles' Honor Roll in 2009 and had his No. 70 jersey retired by the team.
2: Pete Pihos (Fifth Round)
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Since his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970, it's surprising to learn that the multi-talented Pete Pihos once lasted until the middle of the fifth round.
A two-way star at defensive end and tight end, Pihos earned All-NFL honors during his rookie year as a defensive end, then effortlessly switched to a receiving role, where he led the league in receptions for three straight years.
Impressively, Pihos played a significant part in both of the Eagles' NFL Championships. During the 1949 shutout of the Los Angeles Rams, he caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy Thompson to give the Eagles the first score of the game.
Six Pro Bowls and six All-Pro honors later, and Pihos had left an indelible mark on the history of Eagles football.
1: Reggie White (First Round: Supplemental)
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No list of great Eagles players would be complete without the inclusion of the most noteworthy defensive player in Philadelphia Eagles history: Reggie White.
Although he technically shouldn't be considered a late-round draft pick due to his fourth-overall selection in the 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft of USFL and CFL Players, White was nevertheless an absolute steal for the Eagles at that position.
From the moment he stepped foot into Philadelphia, the "Minister of Defense" made his presence known. In his first game as an Eagle, White racked up 2.5 sacks, tipped a pass and returned it for a touchdown. He would then go on to become the Eagles' all-time sack leader, with 124 over eight seasons.
Not surprisingly, White became another one of the seven legendary Eagles to have his jersey number retired. He was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, where he remains one of the most influential players in Eagles history.