The 10 Worst First-Round Picks in Philadelphia Eagles History
The Philadelphia Eagles are one of the oldest and most storied franchises in the National Football League. They've been around for almost 80 seasons and have had the opportunity to pick in the first round 64 times.
They've had some pretty impressive first-round selections, including Chuck Bednarik, Steve Van Buren and Donovan McNabb.
But with 64 first-round picks, chances are that the team will fail on a sizable portion of those picks.
Over the next 10 slides, I will highlight the 10 worst first-round picks in Philadelphia Eagles history.
10. Mike Mamula, Defensive End, 1995
To be fair, Mike Mamula completely set himself up for failure by dominating in the scouting combine leading up to the 1995 NFL draft. Originally projected as a third-round pick, Mamula literally practiced each drill in the combine hundreds of times until he could run a 4.58 in the 40 and bench 225 pounds 26 times. He also scored a 49 on the Wonderlic test, the second highest total in NFL history.
He received enough hype that the Eagles traded with the Buccaneers for the No. 7 pick (the Bucs received the No. 12 pick and selected Warren Sapp).
In five seasons, Mamula recorded 156 tackles and 31.5 sacks but was out of football by the age of 27.
The term "workout warrior" has been since coined after Mike Mamula and describes a player who dominates at the scouting combine, works up his draft value and doesn't live up to the hype (like Darius Heyward-Bey).
9. Freddie Mitchell, Wide Receiver, 2001
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Off the field, Freddie Mitchell did everything he could to bring as much attention to himself as possible. On the field, the 25th overall pick was one of the biggest busts in Eagles history.
His problems started in 2001 when he had difficulty learning the Eagles playbook and barely played as a rookie. He caught just 90 passes for 1,263 yards and five touchdowns in four seasons, and instead chose to sit down at interviews and thank his hands for "being so great."
Leading up to Super Bowl XXXIX against the New England Patriots, he stated that he didn't know the names of the Patriots secondary, just the numbers. He then intentionally stated each of their numbers incorrectly. After the Super Bowl, he said that the Eagles would have won if McNabb had gotten the ball to him more (and Owens less) and the Eagles would beat the Patriots eight out of 10 times. He also said that the Patriots reminded him of little girls.
He is remembered (and loved) for catching 4th-and-26. He also caught LJ Smith's fumble in the end zone in the 2004 divisional playoffs. And he was on the receiving end of a 60-yard pass play after Donovan McNabb scrambled around for 14.1 seconds against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in 2004.
8. Leonard Renfro, Defensive Tackle, 1993
Selected with the 24th pick in the 1993 NFL draft, the undersized defensive tackle played in 23 games, started two and recorded 19 tackles.
He never collected a sack, forced fumble or fumble recovery and was out of the NFL by age 24.
Great pick, Richie Kotite. Let's see what you do in 1994.
7. Jon Harris, Defensive End, 1997
Harris was projected to be a second- or third-round pick in the draft. Head coach Ray Rhodes selected him with the 25th pick in the first round.
Harris promptly provided Eagles fans with two sacks in two seasons and was released by the team after 1998. He had stints on the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers practice squads, but never played in the NFL again.
The Jon Harris pick sums up the last two years of Rhodes' coaching tenure in Philadelphia.
6. Leroy Keyes, Running Back, 1969
The Eagles were 0-11 in 1968 and well on their way to receiving the first pick in the 1969 NFL draft, where they would undoubtedly select USC's OJ Simpson. Instead the Eagles won two straight games and ended up with the third overall pick.
They selected running back Leroy Keyes, who rushed 123 times for 368 yards and three touchdowns with the Eagles over the next four seasons.
He was so bad that he was converted to strong safety for the 1970 and 1971 seasons, and actually intercepted six passes in 1971. But he was out of football by 1973 at the age 26.
5. Harry Jones, Running Back, 1967
The 19th pick in the first round, Jones carried the ball 44 times for 85 yards and zero touchdowns in his four-year NFL career. In 1968, he carried 22 times for 24 yards.
He was released by the Eagles and was out of football by age 25.
4. Jerome McDougle, Defensive End, 2003
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In five seasons, Jerome McDougle recorded three sacks.
He missed eight games to injury in his rookie season. He was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2004 and missed the entire 2005 season with complications from a gunshot wound suffered in July. He missed all of 2007 with a torn triceps and was released before the 2008 season.
His biggest contribution was a nine-yard sack of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Bruce Gradkowski in the fourth quarter of a close game. McDougle was flagged for a 15-yard intentional face mask penalty. He then kicked the flag, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. The Eagles lost the game 23-21 on a 62-yard field goal, largely because of McDougle's actions.
The pathetic part is that the Eagles actually traded up from the 30th pick to the 15th to select Jerome McDougle.
3. Jay Berwanger, Halfback, 1936
For the first time, the NFL decided to hold a draft in 1936 for college players to be picked by NFL teams. Berwanger won the Heisman Trophy and was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles as the No. 1 overall pick.
The only problem...He didn't want to play professional football. He became a sportswriter and later a manufacturer of car parts.
Interesting fact about Berwanger: He left a sizable scar on the left eye of a Michigan center in 1934. The center was named Gerald Ford and he later became President of the United States.
2. Kevin Allen, Offensive Tackle, 1985
Here's all you need to know about offensive tackle Kevin Allen. Head coach Buddy Ryan said Allen was a good player "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass."
Allen was projected as a third-round pick but that didn't stop Buddy Ryan from selecting him with the ninth pick in the 1985 draft. Allen played all 16 games in his rookie season but tested positive for cocaine before his second season.
He was then sentenced to three years in prison for sexual assault and was banned from the NFL.
1. Bernard Williams, Offensive Tackle, 1994
Taken with the 14th pick in the 1994 draft, Bernard Williams is the single worst first-round draft pick in Philadelphia Eagles history.
Williams has a career ratio of games played to drug tests failed of 1.06 to 1. That's right. He played all 16 games in 1994 and was banned from the NFL for life for failing 15 drug tests.
The 6'8", 314-pound left tackle went on to a lengthy career in the XFL, the AFL and the CFL.
The Bernard Williams pick perfectly sums up the Richie Kotite era in Philadelphia.