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Countdown: Eagles Best and Worst Draftees Since 2010

We are officially five days away from the 2020 NFL Draft, and the buzz couldn’t be bigger. With the COVID-19 crisis and the withdrawal from sports, fans everywhere are anticipating this year’s draft more than ever, especially in Philadelphia. With that being said here is look back at the last ten years of Eagles draft days; ranked are the top five best and worst Eagles’ picks since 2010. These rankings are based on the player’s talent and value, meaning later round draft picks are more impressive due to their draft year’s projection.

The Eagles Best Draft Picks Since 2010:

#5 – Lane Johnson, Offensive Tackle

1st Round, No. 4

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

In 2013 the Eagles drafted Lane Johnson in the first round with the No. 4 pick. Since then Johnson has blossomed into one of the most talented and consistent Eagles offensive linemen of all time. Lane is a three-time Pro Bowler (2017-19) and was named a first-team All-Pro lineman in 2017. He has started 92 games for the Birds, and was a key member of the NFL’s best offensive line that lead the Eagles to their Super Bowl LII victory.

#4 – Jalen Mills, Defensive Back

7th Round, No. 233

Photo Courtesy of NBC Philadelphia

The Eagles drafted Mills out of LSU in 2016, and in my opinion, this was a steal. Mills may not have the same achievements nor accolades as the other four guys on this list. However, Mills was a seventh-round, No. 233 overall pick; that is a phenomenal value. In today’s age of technology and ability to scout, it is rare that a guy like Mills drops so far and produces so much. What also adds to Jalen’s case is that he’s a defensive back; I would understand if a tight end or running back of his caliber were to make this much of an impact as a seventh-rounder, not a defensive back. Mills has started 34 games in the midnight green and will be moved to the safety spot in 2020. I’m interested to see what the newly converted Mills will do this year.

#3 – Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle

1st Round, No. 12

Photo Courtesy of NFL.com

Fletcher Cox was drafted out of Mississippi State in 2012. He was the Eagles’ first-round selection at the No. 12 pick. Not only has Cox been one of the best NFL defensive linemen over the past decade, but he is arguably the best defensive tackle in Eagles’ history. Although he was an early first-round selection, nobody could have predicted Fletch’s absurd success as an Eagle. Cox is on a five-time Pro Bowl streak (2015-19), a 2018 first-team All-Pro, and three-time second-team All-Pro (2014, 2015, and 2017). He was also named to the All-Rookie team during his first season with the Eagles. Cox has three defensive touchdowns coupled with 11 forced turnovers and 11 fumble recoveries. He has been, without a doubt, a leader by example and hopefully his success continues through this decade.

#2 – Zach Ertz, Tight End

2nd Round, No. 35

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

The Eagles drafted Stanford standout, Zach Ertz in the 2013 Draft. Ertz was the Eagles’ second-round, No. 35 pick, and was the best selection at TE they have ever made. Ertz has been the Eagles’ leading receiver as the tight end since 2016, and he broke the NFL single-season record for receptions in a season back in 2018. He is a three-time Pro Bowler (2017-19) and was tabbed first-team All-Pro in 2018. Ertz was picked in the second round, giving him and the selection extreme value. He now has 525 receptions for 5,743 yards, and 35 touchdowns during his career and looks to continue his leading receiver streak in 2020. Zach’s contract ends after the 2020 season, and although it may not be a popular opinion, the Eagles have to re-sign him with whatever it takes.

#1 – Jason Kelce, Center

6th Round, No. 191

Photo Courtesy of UpPress

Jason Kelce came out of the University of Cincinnati in 2011, and the Eagles picked him in the sixth round at No. 191. This was the best-valued selection since 2010 without a question. Kelce has started 126 games for the Eagles and has commanded the offensive line since the day he touched down in Philadelphia. Kelce is a three-time Pro Bowler (2014, 2016, and 2019), a three-time first-team All-Pro (2017-19), and the NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2017. The fact that Kelce was a sixth-round pick is unimaginable and has blown away his expectations. Kelce has recently announced he will be back with the Eagles for another year, but his playing clock is slowly dwindling. He will be an Eagles Hall of Famer when all is said and done.

The Eagles Worst Draft Picks Since 2010:

#5 – Donnel Pumphrey, Runningback

4th Round, No. 132

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

Pumphrey was selected by the Eagles in the 2017 draft and has since found his way out of Philadelphia. He was last seen in the XFL playing for the DC Defenders and has fallen off the face of the NFL’s map. Pumphrey was NCAA FBS’ All-Time leading rusher out of San Diego State University. He was injured his whole rookie season in 2017 and spent his time on IR. In September of 2018, he was waived by the Eagles and ventured to Detroit. His final regression started in 2018 when he returned to Philadelphia as a member of the practice squad. The Eagles signed him to a reserve contract in 2019. He was finally cut from the team during the final roster cuts in August of 2019 and has since been out of the NFL.

#4 – Jaiquawn Jarrett, Free Safety

2nd Round, No. 54

Photo Courtesy of The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Eagles selected Jarrett in 2011 out of the neighboring university, Temple. Jarrett was taken in the second round with pick No. 54 and spent two seasons with the Eagles. They signed Jarrett to a four-year contract that was eventually squashed a year after when the Eagles release Jarrett. He was a bust for Philadelphia and eventually went on to do the same with the Jets. In his NFL career, he had totaled 83 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a second-round pick. It is worth noting that Jarrett was projected to be drafted in the third or fourth round; not only did the Eagles reach for him, but he turned out to be a waste of a second-round pick. Jaiquawn’s career officially ended in New York in 2015.

#3 – Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Defensive End

3rd Round, No. 86

Photo Courtesy of NBC Sports

Te’o-Nesheim was drafted by the Eagles in the 2010 Draft out of the University of Washington. He was the Birds third-round pick at No. 86 overall. He was also signed to a four-year contract but had the shortest stint with the Eagles out of this list. He had played a total of six games in Philadelphia and finished with two tackles. A shoulder injury sidelined him for the most part of the year, and he was waived by the Eagles during the off-season. Daniel then went on to play in Tampa Bay for three years before retiring due to concussion injuries. Unfortunately, Te’o-Nesheim passed away in 2017; medical examiners released the news that Nesheim was found dead with a mixture of pills and alcohol in his system. It had later been discovered that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as CTE.

#2 – Marcus Smith, Outside Linebacker

1st Round, No. 26

Photo Courtesy of The Philadelphia Daily News

The Eagles drafted Louisville’s Marcus Smith in 2014. He was a projected third to fourth-rounder, and the Eagles decided to move up in the first round to pick him. They had a hunch that Smith was an undervalued stud, and boy, were they wrong. Marcus Smith was signed to a four year deal with a fifth-year option. He didn’t start a single game during his three years with the Eagles and was eventually waived in 2016 and signed by the Seahawks in 2017. After another terrible year in Seattle, he got one last shot with Washington and after playing two games he was released. Since then Smith has not played an NFL snap, and it’s safe to say his career is over.

#1 – Danny Watkins, Offensive Guard

1st Round, No. 23

Danny Watkins was the first-ever lineman to be drafted in the NFL and CFL in the same year. The Eagles drafted him in the first round with the No. 23 pick and it was a clear mistake. He came out of Baylor University and was also known to be a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia. During his rookie season, the Eagles started Watkins in 12 games, but it was evident that they had selected a player that wouldn’t last much longer. He started only six games in 2012, and zero in 2013. Eventually, the Eagles released Watkins in 2013 and he took his talent to Miami. They signed him to a one year contract, but after that did not work out, Watkins retired and continued his firefighting career in Frisco, Texas.

Follow me on Twitter for more great NFL and Philadelphia Eagles content @luke_stans. Also, follow @OTHPhilly for more Philadelphia Sports coverage.

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