I thought Keith Jackson was a bust, and I thought Antone Davis was a star.
You cover 32 Eagles drafts you're going to miss on a few picks.
Here's a look at 10 Eagles draft picks over the years I've been dead wrong about.
Keith Jackson [1st-round pick in 1988]
Jackson had caught just 13 passes as a senior at Oklahoma and just 65 passes his entire college career? And the Eagles were wasting the 13th pick on him? I couldn’t believe Buddy Ryan would do such a stupid thing. A year later Jackson set an NFL record that still stands for rookie tight ends with 81 catches. That was a good lesson for a first-year NFL writer that you can’t judge a college player solely on his numbers. You have to take into account how he was used, what kind of scheme he was in, what sort of quarterback he had, etc. Jackson went on to become a five-time Pro Bowler.
Robert Drummond [3rd-round pick in 1989]
The number that stood out to me was 5.7. Drummond averaged 5.7 yards per carry at Syracuse and 6.4 his last two years! And the Eagles got him in the third round? What I didn’t realize was that if a running back isn’t a willing blocker it really doesn’t matter how good a runner he is in the NFL. Drummond turned out to be a pedestrian runner and a non-existent blocker. He was out of the league before his 25th birthday.
Mike Bellamy [2nd-round pick in 1990]
Bellamy was my favorite receiver in the 1990 draft. Smooth, polished, experienced, productive. He was the first WR the Eagles took in the same draft they selected Fred Barnett and Calvin Williams. Bellamy lasted one year in the NFL and never caught a pass. Barnett and Williams caught 781. Bellamy had all the talent in the world but Barnett and Williams just wanted it a lot more, and on this level that makes all the difference in the world.
Antone Davis [1st-round pick in 1991]
This one hurts to admit. But I thought Antone was going to be a stud. The dude was a unanimous All-American at Tennessee and a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He ran 5.2 at 335 pounds at the Combine. He won the starting right tackle job as a rookie and I’m thinking this guy is going to have a heck of a career. Next thing you know he gives up 10 sacks in his first five games and gets benched for Bruce Collie, and it never got much better. Eagles missed on him and I missed on him just as badly.
Casey Weldon [4th-round pick in 1992]
I thought the Eagles got a steal, selecting the Heisman Trophy runner-up in the fourth round. Weldon was so much fun to watch in college, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards Figured he’d back up Randall for years and hold it down if Randall got hurt again. Weldon didn’t even make the team. He spent a few years with the Bucs but never started a game and retired with one career touchdown pass.
Sheldon Brown [2nd-round pick in 2002]
It’s not that I didn’t think Brown could play. I just thought Andy Reid and Tom Heckert had lost their minds taking two cornerbacks and three defensive backs in the first two rounds. Remember, Troy Vincent had just made his fourth straight Pro Bowl and Bobby Taylor was 29 years old and an established starter and about to go to his first Pro Bowl a year later. Another cornerback? Why? We learned why when Lito and Sheldon held down the cornerback spot for the Eagles for several years. Lito Sheppard and Brown are why it generally makes sense to draft the best available player and not draft for need.
Reggie Brown [2nd-round pick in 2005]
Brown was exactly what the Eagles needed. A big, smooth playmaker for Donovan McNabb. I loved this pick. And Brown did get off to an OK start to his career – 150 catches and 16 TDs his first three years. Only four WRs in Eagles history have had more catches in their first three years. Brown had more catches in his first three seasons than Mike Quick! He was a budding star. Then he caught 27 passes the rest of his career and was quickly out of the league. Wrong again.
Kevin Kolb [2nd-round pick in 2007]
I couldn’t have been more wrong about Kolb. I was convinced he was the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb, who by the time the Eagles drafted Kolb was 31, getting hurt a lot and not quite the MVP candidate he had been earlier in his career. Kolb was smart, accurate, productive. His last year at Houston he had 30 TDs and 4 INTs! Looked the part at 6-3, 220, and he could spin it. Didn’t go quite the way I expected. Kolb had a couple good starts in 2010 but was mediocre at best. He went 3-4 as an Eagles starter with more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11) and was eventually shipped to the Cards for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Jack Ikegwuonu [4th-round pick in 2008]
I thought the Eagles stole Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu in the fourth round! Kind of like Sidney Jones, he was coming off a severe injury that occurred after his college season ended and before the draft, but he had been a first-team all-Big Ten corner two years in a row and once he was healthy? Watch out! Jim Johnson thought so highly of Ikegwuonu that during his red-shirt year he had him put together scouting reports on future Eagles’ opponents. Ikegwuonu finally got to play his first NFL game in November 2009 against the Bears. He was cut the next day.
Sidney Jones [2nd-round pick in 2017]
I thought it was a brilliant pick. You’re getting a 1st-round talent understanding he’s not going to play as a rookie because of his Pro Day injury but would still be 22 in Year 2. But so far at least it just hasn’t happened for Jones, who has been oft-injured and has not played well when healthy. He’s still only 23 – he turns 24 next month – so it’s too early to give up on him. But so far he hasn’t been close to what I thought he would be.
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