Philadelphia Eagles: Ranking the Drafts of the Andy Reid Era
As the draft draws nearer and nearer, Eagles fans are crossing their fingers, hoping that Andy Reid can successfully identify talent that can help this team win a Super Bowl, both in the short-term and long-term.
Overall when it has come to drafting, Reid has been excellent. Few could argue that Reid does not have an eye for talent and building a competitive team each and every year. Yet not every draft brought in Donovan McNabbs and Brian Westbrooks.
Here are all of Andy Reid's draft classes, ranked from best to worst...
This draft was by far the finest of the Andy Reid era. With his top four picks Reid struck gold every time, acquiring three pro bowlers.
In the 1st round: Lito Sheppard, 2nd round: Michael Lewis and Sheldon Brown, and 3rd round: Brian Westbrook.
Each of these players would be instrumental to the team’s success down the road and contribute to its many playoff appearances. All being said and done, 2002 is clearly the best draft of the Andy Reid era.
It may be a bit early, but the way things are looking right now, the 2009 NFL draft will go down as one of the best in the Reid era. By trading down with Cleveland, Reid nabbed the second best receiver in the draft in Jeremy Maclin.
Maclin would prove to be a perfect receiver opposite of DeSean Jackson, being able to make catches in traffic along with adding to the speed on the roster, helping to make this Philly team one of the best offenses in the NFL.
And the way things are looking now, LeSean McCoy is on his way to becoming the franchise running back in Philadelphia. Like Westbrook, McCoy proved to be quick, have great vision, and reliable hands. If his blocking can be improved, McCoy will be just the kind of player Philly needs.
The Eagles were also able to take Moise Fokou in the 7th round. While Fokou is not a dominant player, he has filled in nicely and has added great depth at the linebacker position. If Fokou can develop into a more reliable linebacker, this draft may take over the top spot in future rankings.
While 2005 was not as flashy in terms of pro bowl talent, what it did do was provide the Eagles with many good players and reliable talent.
In the 1st round, the selection of Mike Patterson provided an anchor in the middle of the defensive line. In the 2nd round, Reggie Brown never developed into the go-to receiver many envisioned him as, but he helped to make the departure of Terrell Owens less rocky. Todd Herremans, in the 4th round, has proven to be a good left guard for the most part in his career.
And of course, what might put this draft class higher than others below it is the steal of selecting Trent Cole in the 5th round. Cole would develop into a pro bowler and his relentless pass-rushing is now crucial to the success of the Eagles defense. With all that being said, few can argue with the results of the 2005 Eagles draft.
1999 failed to produce many pro bowlers and many of those selected, such as John Welbourn in the 4th round, would develop into good solid players but not dominant ones. However, the one pick that Reid got right was the wisdom to select Donovan McNabb with the 2nd overall pick.
Ignoring pleas from fans to take Ricky Williams, Andy Reid selected the one quarterback out of six that he knew stood out from the pack. In a class rich with talent consisting of the likes of Akili Smith, Tim Couch, and Dante Culpepper, Donovan McNabb would have the far more successful career and led the Eagles to consistent postseason appearances, division crowns, and conference championship appearances.
He may have failed to deliver a championship to the city that drafted him, but McNabb did wonders to establish a winning culture in Philadelphia and the entire organization owes him for setting the foundation for future winning teams. For that alone, the 1999 draft can be argued to go down as the most brilliant draft of the Andy Reid era.
Similar to 2009, the jury is still out on the 2010 draft and that is why this draft is so low on this ranking. But if everything pans out, this was a remarkable draft.
1st round pick Brandon Graham showed flashes of brilliance before landing on Injured Reserve. 2nd round pick Nate Allen showed with his ball-hawking abilities that he is likely the Free Safety of the future. 4th rounder Keenan Klayton has proven to be a pleasant surprise and the future of Mike Kafka has yet to be determined.
And what a steal in selecting Jamar Chaney in the 7th round! A tackling machine that could potentially replace Stewart Bradley at the Middle Linebacker position. Of course it’s only been one season; this draft could easily plummet to the bottom of this list. But as of now, it looks very promising.
The 2006 NFL Draft was all about selecting excellent role players and reliable talent. Few dominant playmakers has placed this draft out of the top five, but with players like Brodrick Bunkley, Winston Justice, and Jason Avant taken in the 1st, 2nd and 4th round picks respectively, the Eagles took many unsung heroes under their wing.
Brodrick Bunkley would line up next to Mike Patterson to plug up the middle of the D-line. Justice would help to diminish the blow of losing Shawn Andrews for the second consecutive season with strong performance at the Right Tackle position in the 2009 season. He had a poor showing in the 2011 Wild Card game against Green Bay, but was playing through an injury and has the potential to be an anchor on the right side of the field with more experience. And with Jason Avant on the roster, slot receiver has been rarely been a problem over the years for the Eagles.
While devoid of any pro bowl players, the Eagles got a handful of good, even great players, that all proved to be instrumental to the team winning games over the years. The 2006 NFL Draft shows the eye for talent that Reid truly has.
2008 seemed to be a poor draft initially, with the Eagles trading out of the 1st round for the second consecutive year. But with the selection of DeSean Jackson in the 2nd round, few would complain with the results. Jackson, as we all know, is instrumental to the success of the Eagles and his re-signing is a top priority for this team if they are to continue to be the high-flying offense that fans have grown accustomed to.
In the 4th round, Reid selected Mike McGlynn, who filled in nicely after Jamaal Jackson was lost for the 2010 season. Although 2nd rounder Trevor Laws has proven to be a bust so far, in the end 2008 saw the arrival of the first dominant receiver that the Eagles have since the T.O. era in DeSean Jackson.
Reid’s willingness to take a chance on the undersized receiver with questionable maturity has produced great rewards. As a result, 2008 was not a great draft, but that pick alone makes it a good one.
2000 also saw few dominant playmakers selected. But 1st round pick Corey Simon proved to be valuable to the team’s success as a good defense tackle. Making the pro bowl in 2003 and helping the Eagles to reach a Super Bowl in 2005,
Simon would be lost when he refused to sign the franchise tag. However, having started in all four NFC Championship games with the Eagles, Simon’s contribution cannot be ignored. That, along with the taking of Bobbie Williams to help strengthen the offensive line makes this draft’s contribution still significant.
The legacy of the 2007 NFL Draft can change depending on if the Eagles trade Kevin Kolb and what value they receive for him. However, at the current state of things, the 2007 NFL Draft was among the least successful. The Eagles infamously traded out of the first round, giving their pick to Dallas. Despite being anointed the future starting quarterback of this franchise, Kevin Kolb’s job was taken from him in the blink of an eye at the start of the 2010 season by a concussion and a resurgent Michael Vick. 2nd rounder Victor Abiarimi also turned out to be a complete bust, being plagued by injuries.
While the 3rd round did yield talented young linebacker Stewart Bradley, Bradley’s job may soon be taken from him by Jamar Chaney. Additionally, Bradley was lost for the entire 2009 season and struggled mightily in pass coverage when he returned in 2010.
Resurgence from Bradley and the acquisition of a 1st round pick for Kolb could absolve this draft, but presently the legacy is not good.
2004 also proved to be less favorable for the Eagles. The Eagles would trade up to select Shawn Andrews, but Andrews failed to live up to his potential. He played an integral part as a dominant right guard, but he failed to stay healthy and left the Eagles after bouts with depression, back injuries, and YouTube videos.
In my eyes, Andrews is a bust, and as the rest of this draft failed to produce dominant playmakers, 2004 is one of the least successful drafts of the Andy Reid era.
The only thing that saves the 2001 draft from the last spot on this list is the fact that 3rd round pick Derrick Burgess and 4th round pick Corell Buckhalter would both be good players, with Burgess playing an instrumental role in shutting down Michael Vick in the 2005 NFC Championship. And 5th rounder A.J. Feeley would prove invaluable as trade bait and as a reliable backup.
But the draft duds of Freddie Mitchell in the 1st round and Quinton Caver in the 2nd round make up for the positives of this draft. Mitchell would fall well short of his potential, failing to ever catch 500 yards within a single season, and was selected over standouts Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, and Chad Ochocinco.
The lack of a dominant receiver on the Eagles is perhaps one of the greatest factors in McNabb failing to deliver a Super Bowl ring. Combine that with Caver being a total bust and the 2001 draft saw a few good players taken, but also an incredible squandering of opportunity.
That is what pits this draft class at the bottom of the list, with the worst draft of Andy Reid’s career of course being…
2003. This year would live in infamy as the drafting of Jerome McDougle. Not only did McDougle fail to live up to his potential, but the Eagles traded away their 30th and 53rd overall picks for McDougle.
Not only did McDougle fail to produce, but the Eagles could have attained the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Troy Polamalu, Dallas Clark, Lance Briggs, Anquan Boldin, and Jason Witten.
2003 would represent the biggest waste of opportunity in the entire Andy Reid era and will live in infamy as the worst draft class of the Andy Reid era, and perhaps one of the worst draft classes in Eagles history.