As we near the 2020 NFL draft, the Eagles are expected to have 10 selections and a real opportunity to pick up some important young players for the future of the franchise.
During his time as GM (2010-14, 2016-present), Howie Roseman has had some hits and he’s had some misses.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to rank all of his draft picks (excluding the 2015 year when Chip Kelly was in charge) by round.
Here’s how I’d rank Roseman’s 13 fifth-round picks:
1. Halapoulivaati Vaitai (2016, No. 164)
Big V just finished out his rookie contract and was a good depth piece for years. He ended up playing in 55 games with 20 starts and that doesn’t include his four playoff starts. Three of those playoff starts came in 2017 when he was the starting left tackle for the Super Bowl run. He played every offensive snap in those three games, including the Super Bowl.
2. Riley Cooper (2010, No. 159)
Cooper will always be remembered for his use of a racial slur at a concert in 2013; it overshadowed his production. Because in seven seasons with the Eagles, Cooper wasn’t great but he did catch 169 passes for 2,418 yards and 18 touchdowns. His 2013 season in Chip Kelly’s offense was the best of his career. He caught 47 passes for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. He was also a solid special teams contributor. After he was cut following the 2015 season, he never played another down in the NFL.
3. Nathan Gerry (2017, No. 184)
The Eagles took Gerry out of Nebraska, where he was a safety. He had to learn the linebacker position and it didn’t happen right away. In 2019, he started 12 games and had two interceptions, including a pick-6. He’s the only real returning starting linebacker under contract for the 2020 season.
4. Wendell Smallwood (2016, No. 153)
The Eagles took Smallwood out of West Virginia three spots after the Bears took Jordan Howard. Smallwood was never that productive but in three seasons, he had 850 rushing yards and another 388 receiving yards. He was an OK player but never took over a bigger role despite opportunities.
5. Dion Lewis (2011, No. 149)
Lewis is one of the better players on this list but his success didn’t come in Philadelphia. The running back from Pitt played two years for the Eagles and rushed for just 171 yards. Eventually, he found some more success with the Patriots and Titans.
6. Dennis Kelly (2012, No. 153)
Like Lewis, Kelly has found some success but most of it came after he left Philly. The Eagles traded Kelly in 2016 to the Titans for Dorial Green-Beckham. At the time, we thought the Eagles won that trade. We were wrong. DGB has been out of the league since after the 2016 season and Kelly played 58 games and started 16 for the Titans in four years. With the Eagles, he played 30 games and started 15.
7. Shelton Gibson (2017, No. 166)
Gibson returned to the Eagles for the 2019 playoff run but that was after he was already cut after training camp. In his two regular seasons with the Eagles (2017 and 2018), he caught just three passes for 59 yards. The Eagles were desperate those seasons for a deep threat and despite his speed, Gibson never became that. He was at least a decent gunner on special teams.
8. Earl Wolff (2013, No. 136)
The DB from NC State played in 11 games as a rookie and in his first two seasons played 18 games with seven starts. His short Eagles career was plagued by injuries and Wolff was critical of the Eagles’ medical staff in 2018.
9. Ed Reynolds (2014, No. 162)
The Stanford defensive back played in six games for the Eagles in 2015 but ended up in Cleveland the next year. He started seven games for the Browns in 2016. His only career INT came with the Eagles in ’15. He picked Tyrod Taylor to seal a win over the Bills in December.
10. Julian Vandervelde (2011, No. 161)
The Eagles’ all-time transaction king, Vandervelde ended up playing in 17 games over a five-year span with the Eagles. The Iowa OL didn’t have a long career but the Eagles liked him enough to keep bringing him back and cutting him and bringing him back.
11. Taylor Hart (2014, No. 141)
While this pick belongs to Howie, it was pretty clear this was a Chip guy. Hart went to Oregon and Chip wanted him and probably would have drafted him higher if it hadn’t been for Roseman stepping in. Hart was a defensive lineman until a last-ditch effort to stick in the NFL saw him switch to OL. It didn’t work.
12. Ricky Sapp (2010, No. 134)
The Clemson pass rusher was put on IR as a rookie and then left the team. He never played a down for the Eagles. Eventually, he played in 17 games for the Jets and Texans but never recorded a sack.
13. Clayton Thorson (2019, No. 167)
The Eagles thought they found their developmental quarterback from Northwestern but Thorson was so bad in training camp that he didn’t even stick around as a practice squad member. He spent his rookie season on the Cowboys’ practice squad.
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