You know that feeling you get watching D.K. Metcalf catching touchdowns for the Seahawks or Terry McLaurin shredding the Eagles for Washington?
That sick, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you imagine what could have been? What should have been?
It's nothing new.
That’s a feeling Eagles fans have been experiencing for decades. Because the Eagles have been missing out on star wide receivers they could have had for decades.
The Eagles have drafted 75 wide receivers since 1960 (or split ends back in the day), and seven of them have had a 1,000-yard season. Five of them have made a Pro Bowl.
Not a stellar track record.
It got us wondering if we could come up with a list of the 10 biggest wide receiver blunders in Eagles history.
It was hard. Actually, it was hard narrowing it down to 10.
Heck, we didn’t even have a chance to get into the Eagles drafting Antone Davis over Herman Moore, Bernard Williams over Isaac Bruce, Jerome McDougle over Anquan Boldin, Danny Watkins over Randall Cobb or Marcus Smith over Jarvis Landry.
Here’s what we did come up with:
No. 1: The Eagles had the 9th pick in the 1985 draft, but they bypassed a wide receiver named Jerry Rice (not to mention Al Toon, Vance Johnson and Eddie Brown) to take an offensive tackle named Kevin Allen, who made it through one NFL season and never played again.
No. 2: The Eagles picked No. 25 in 2001 and passed on Steve Smith, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Chris Chambers and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to take Freddie Mitchell out of UCLA. Smith, Wayne and Johnson each made at least five Pro Bowls. Smith and Wayne had nearly 15,000 yards, Johnson over 11,000. Chambers and Houshmandzadeh both made Pro Bowls and finished with over 7,000 yards. They combined for 332 career touchdowns. Mitchell did catch Donovan McNabb’s legendary 4th-and-26 pass in the 2003 playoff win over the Packers, but he lasted only four years and had 1,263 career yards and five TDs.
No. 3: The Eagles had both Jeff Sydner and Jimmy Smith in training camp in 1994, and even though Randall Cunningham developed an instant chemistry with Smith, head coach Rich Kotite preferred Sydner. The Eagles cut Smith, who wound up in Jacksonville, where he made five Pro Bowls, had 862 catches, 12,287 yards and 67 touchdowns. Sydner finished his career with three catches.
No. 4: The Eagles picked No. 4 in 1984 and selected Penn State wide receiver Kenny Jackson, who finished his non-distinguished career with 126 catches, 2,170 yards and 11 TDs. Among those still on the board was Louis Lipps, who wound up in Pittsburgh, where he made two Pro Bowls, had over 6,000 yards and scored 39 touchdowns.
No. 5: In the 1995 draft, the Eagles picked Miami wide receiver Chris T. Jones in the third round, leaving Antonio Freeman for the Packers 12 picks later. Jones caught 80 passes for 993 yards and 5 TDs in a brief three-year career. Freeman had more than 7,000 career yards and 61 TDs for the Packers and had over 100 yards in both Super Bowls he played in. He even spent a year with the Eagles at the end of his career.
No. 6: In 2014, the Eagles picked Josh Huff at No. 86, five picks before the Cards drafted John Brown. Huff caught only 51 passes for 523 yards in his short career (although he did have two kickoff return TDs). Brown is still going strong, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver currently with the Bills. He has just under 4,500 career yards and 30 TDs, including a 75-yard game-winner against the Eagles his rookie year.
No. 7: Three years into their careers, it sure didn’t look like the Eagles made a mistake drafting Reggie Brown in the 2nd round over Vincent Jackson. Brown, selected at No. 35, had 150 catches, more than 2,000 yards and 16 TDs in his first three seasons, and Jackson, taken No. 61 by the Chargers, had just 71 for 1,135 yards and 9 TDs. But Brown only caught 27 more passes the rest of his career and was out of the league after the 2009 season. Jackson played 11 years, caught over 500 passes, had nearly 10,000 yards, 57 TDs and six 1,000-yard seasons and made three Pro Bowls.
No. 8: In 2015, with Chip Kelly as the GM, the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor at No. 20 overall, and although he did have a big Super Bowl, the Eagles left Stefon Diggs, Tyler Lockett and Jamison Crowder on the board when they took Nelly. Diggs currently has 4,911 yards and 32 TDs, Lockett has 4,097 yards and 31 TDs, Crowder has 3,680 yards and 21 TDs and Nelly has 2,589 yards and 19 TDs and is now with the Raiders.
No. 9: Todd Pinkston’s career ended after just five years when he suffered an Achilles injury in training camp in 2005. The 36th pick in 2000 finished with 184 catches, 2,816 yards and 14 TDs. Who was still on the board? Laveranues Coles, among others. Coles played 10 years, caught nearly 700 passes, scored 49 TDs and had over 8,500 yards. Darrell Jackson was also still on the board. Jackson had 500 catches, over 7,000 yards and 51 TDs in his nine-year career.
No. 10: OK, you never know. I’m not ready to write off J.J. Arcega-Whiteside just yet. But it doesn’t look good. The Eagles took Arcega-Whiteside at No. 57 last year. Among the WRs still on the board were D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, Darius Slayton and Diontae Johnson. Metcalf and McLaurin already have nearly 1,200 career yards (316 of them against the Eagles), Slayton has over 900 and Johnson has over 800. JJAW has 10 catches for 169 yards and hasn’t caught a pass this year.