The Philadelphia Eagles have an incredibly rich history of draft picks growing into All-Time great players. Whether it was in the pre-Super Bowl era, the 70’s/80’s or even the modern game, home-grown talent has helped the franchise go from perennial losers to the class of the league.
Let’s take a look at the 10 best players that have been drafted by the men in green.
10. Eric Allen – 2nd Round, 30th overall
The greatest corner in Eagles history. Debate all you want on how good Lito, Asante, and even Darius Slay are now, the true lockdown corner in Philadelphia is Eric Allen. A six-time pro-bowler and first-team All-Pro member, Allen doesn’t get the same attention like Primetime or Aeneas Williams got, but he was still an unbelievable lockdown corner. There has been no-one better than Allen when it comes to playing corner in Philadelphia.
9. Brian Westbrook – 3rd round, 91st overall
I had a lot of internal debate between McCoy or Wilbert Montgomery here. Ultimately, I end up with Westbrook. While Montgomery was a later-round selection than Westbrook, he still had Hall-of-Famer Harold Carmichael to play with as a skill position phenom. Westbrook had T.O. for a year, but for most of his career, was the one and only top talent on the offense skill position-wise. Westbrook is one of the most underrated players in NFL History. He deserves this spot.
8. Harold Carmichael – 7th round, 161st overall
Speaking of Carmichael – has there been a better late-round selection from a receiver ever? A 7th-round selection out of Southern, Carmichael was the one and only weapon the Eagles had for much of his early career. In a time when the passing offenses in the league were getting mauled time and time again, Carmichael was as consistent and dependable an option in football history. He is the greatest receiver in Eagles history and worthy of his HOF selection.
7. Zach Ertz – 2nd Round, 35th overall
Nine years, three pro-bowls, a Super Bowl championship, oh, and the game-winning touchdown in said game. There are not many Eagles that tout the resume that Zach Ertz had in Philadelphia. One of the most consistent pass-catchers in team history, Ertz was and is a consummate professional and his work in the community has been just as impressive. His trade to Arizona does not take away from the excellent career in Philly. For most of his career, he was behind only Gronk for the top TE spot in the league.
6. Jason Kelce – 6th round, 191st overall
Four first-team All-Pro’s. Five Pro Bowls. The heartbeat of the Eagles over the last decade. Kelce is one of the longest-tenured Eagles ever and has played like a Hall of Famer since he was drafted out of Cincinnati. Want to know how good he truly is? Before he was drafted, the Center position was only thought of one certain way. They weren’t asked to move fast, needed to be tough, and rarely asked to pull. Kelce has completely changed the outlook of the center position. When your legacy changes the entire position, you better believe Canton will call after retirement.
5. Brian Dawkins – 2nd round, 61st overall
I mean, duh. The face of the defense for over a decade, Dawkins was one of the greatest defensive players drafted in Eagles history. The passion he brought to the game transformed the Eagles from the doormat of the league, to one of the most feared franchises in football. There really isn’t much more to say. Dawkins is arguably the most beloved Eagle of All-Time.
4. Reggie White – 1st round, 4th overall
It’s always difficult to decide where to put Reggie. He’s the greatest pass rusher in league history, changed the way defensive end’s are thought of, and ushered in the most physical era of football in Eagles history. The fact that he ended his career in Green Bay does not take away from his talents, or his legacy in Philly, but it hurts him when talking about being in the top three. All-time player who is and always will be an Eagle. Shame on Norman Braman didn’t agree.
3. Steve Van Buren – 1st round, 5th overall
If Van Buren was around in the 60’s or 70’s one can argue that he would have been what Jim Brown was to the league. Still his HOF candidacy in the 1940’s is still massively impressive when you look at the fact he only played for eight seasons. Van Buren’s size and speed would have been a perfect mix for the modern game. Add in two NFL championships in 1948 and 1949, and you’re looking at an all-time great Eagle.
2. Chuck Bednarik – 1st round, 1st overall
The greatest Eagle of all-time comes in second on this list, but doesn’t take away from his legacy. The last of the 60 minute men in which Bednarik, at the age of 35, played both center and LB. A 6x All-Pro, 8x Pro Bowler and 2x NFL Champion, Bednarik has legacy ties to all the big moments in Eagles history. So why isn’t he number one on this list? Bednarik was drafted the year after the team had won an NFL Championship. He’s the greatest Eagle but the team was already great when he got there.
1.Donovan McNabb – 1st round, 2nd overall
Before everyone goes nuts, remember this simple fact. The Eagles in 1998 were one of the worst teams in football history. 3-13 is the worst record in team history to this date. When McNabb was drafted, he was taken by a team that had very little playoff success, and a roster that was bare on talent. When McNabb left Philadelphia in 2010, the team had become a well-oiled machine of consistent winning football. Five conference final appearances, eight playoff wins, and the all-time record for all QB stats. It’s unquestioned. McNabb is not only the greatest QB in Eagles history, but he completely changed how the Eagles were looked at across professional football.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire