The Eagles drafted 162 players during the 18 years Joe Banner in the team’s front office.
There were 20 Pro Bowlers, one Hall of Famer and three members of the NFL’s Team of the Decade. All but 17 of them got into at least one NFL game.
Today, 25 years after Jeff Lurie made Banner his first hire after buying the Eagles, Banner looks back at two of those draft picks with particular fondness.
Banner appeared this week on the Eagle Eye podcast and we asked him for a draft pick or two that he’s the most proud of. Maybe not the best player or the highest pick but the pick he looks back on with the most pride.
“I’ll give you two names: Brian Westbrook and Trent Cole,” Banner said.
The Eagles selected Westbrook in the third round in 2002 with the 91st pick overall and Cole in the fifth round in 2005 with the 146th pick.
Trent we got at the end of the fifth round,” Banner said. “He could have been picked in the first round and you would have felt good about the pick. And we wanted Brian so bad that we literally tried to trade up every pick in the entire third round, which I think was like 20 spots. We were on the phone with every single team once we got into the third round, and we could not get anybody to trade with which meant they probably weren’t too anxious about it because not only did they didn’t trade, they didn’t pick him. He was a guy that wasn’t projected that highly, partially because of his size, some people thought he couldn’t be more than a third-down back, and obviously he turned out to be much, much more. So those were two key positions, key players, who contributed massively to our success for a long time that the rest of the league just didn’t think of the way we did.
Westbrook piled up over 10,000 scrimmage yards in his career, made two Pro Bowls and an all-pro team and along with Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk is one of only two running backs in NFL history with 6,000 rushing yards, 400 receptions and 30 TDs both rushing and receiving.
Cole recorded 85 1/2 sacks as an Eagle, had four double-digit sack seasons, made two Pro Bowls and ranks second only to Hall of Famer Reggie White in sacks in franchise history.
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