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Philadelphia Eagles: Best and worst draft picks

  • By Bill Sudell NFL.com
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In the days leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, NFL.com will allow users to determine the best and worst draft picks for every team. The series continues with the team that owns the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Philadelphia Eagles were established in 1933 and made Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger the first-ever selection in the inaugural NFL draft in 1936. Over their 80 seasons in the NFL, the birds have made plenty of picks to remember and, of course, some to forget. Here are the most impactful selections of the modern era:

Best picks

Reggie White -- 1984 Supplemental Draft (No. 4)
The Eagles used the fourth pick in the 1984 Supplemental Draft on White, who was playing with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL. In his debut, the versatile defensive end compiled 10 tackles with 2.5 sacks against the division rival New York Giants. In each of his eight years in an Eagles uniform, White racked up at least 11 sacks and is the franchise leader with 124.0 quarterback drops. White was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice and compiled a streak of seven consecutive Pro Bowl berths, the longest in team history. Philadelphia was 70-50-1 with White in the lineup.
» Photos: White through the years

Harold Carmichael -- 1971 (No. 161)
With their seventh-round selection in 1971, the Eagles drafted the 6-foot-8 Carmichael from Southern University. Carmichael turned into a four-time Pro Bowler and franchise leader with 589 catches, 8,978 yards and 79 touchdowns. He caught at least one pass in a then-record 127 straight games and was voted to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s. Carmichael remains the tallest wide receiver in NFL history.
» 1971 NFL Draft

Wilbert Montgomery -- 1977 (No. 154)
Montgomery scored 76 touchdowns during his career at Albilene Christian College, but was viewed by many as too brittle for the NFL. The Eagles took a chance on the running back in the sixth round of the 1977 draft and were rewarded with a player who would go on to rush for a franchise-record 6,538 yards during eight seasons in Eagles green. His 45 rushing touchdowns rank second behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in Philadelphia history. Montgomery might be best remembered by Eagles fans for his 194 yards rushing, including a 42-yard touchdown scamper, in the 1980 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.
» 1977 NFL Draft

Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons -- 1986 (No. 208, No. 233)
The foundation of the Eagles' "Gang Green" defense under Buddy Ryan was solidified late in the 1986 draft. In Joyner, Philadelphia discovered a versatile outside linebacker and leader with a nasty edge who flourished in all situations. The eighth-round pick from UTEP put together his best season in 1991 when the Eagles defense finished No. 1 against the run, the pass and overall. Simmons was the silent assassin who played on the opposite side of Reggie White and formed the most imposing defensive end tandem in the NFL. Simmons' 76.0 sacks as an Eagle ranks second in team history, including 55.0 during a four-year stretch from 1989-92. Joyner and Simmons were two of the three players selected among the final 132 picks in 1986 who would go on to earn Pro Bowl berths during their career (the other was Vai Sikahema by the St. Louis Cardinals -- 254th overall).
» 1986 NFL Draft

Brian Dawkins -- 1996 (No. 61)
It is hard to imagine a player and city better suited for each other than Dawkins and Philadelphia. Taken with the final pick of the second round (Philadelphia had selected tight end Jason Dunn seven spots prior), the free safety from Clemson would embark on a 13-year career in midnight green that included seven Pro Bowls and a place on the Eagles' 75th Anniversary team. Dawkins is one of eight players to have his number retired by the Eagles and is among the most beloved players in Philly sports history.
» 1996 NFL Draft | Photos: Dawkins through the years

Worst picks

Kevin Allen -- 1985 (No. 9)
The Eagles selected the Indiana left tackle ninth overall despite most projections having him as a mid-round pick. Allen's NFL career got off to a rocky start when a contract dispute kept him out of most of training camp. His first start came against Lawrence Taylor and the Giants, a game in which New York compiled eight sacks. By midseason, Allen was relegated to special teams. To make matters worse, five of the next seven players picked had Pro Bowl careers, including three-time All-Pro tackle Jim Lachey and a guy named Jerry Rice. When Buddy Ryan took over as coach in 1986, Allen didn't fit into his plans. The coach claimed the former first-round pick could only be useful "if you want someone to stand around and kill the grass ... He looks like a USFL reject." The Eagles released Allen in October of 1986, a week before he was arrested for rape. After being convicted, he spent three years in prison and never played another down in the NFL.
» 1985 NFL Draft

Leroy Keyes -- 1969 (No. 3)
The 1968 Eagles won two of their final three games to finish the season 2-12, costing them a chance to draft O.J. Simpson. With the third pick, Philadelphia took Purdue's Keyes, who ran for a total of 368 yards and three scores over four years with the Eagles. Eleven future Pro Bowlers or AFL all-stars were selected with the remaining 23 first-round picks, including Joe Greene by the Steelers the No. 4 overall spot.
» 1969 NFL Draft

Michael Haddix -- 1983 (No. 8)
In the famed 1983 draft, Philadelphia used the eighth overall pick on running back Michael Haddix from Mississippi State. After rushing for a career-high 76 yards and a score in his NFL debut, Haddix never topped 60 yards again as an Eagle. He ran for fewer than 280 yards in each of his six years in Philly and holds the distinction of having the fewest career yards per rush (3.0) of any player in NFL history with at least 500 carries. What makes this pick sting most though is the fact that four future Hall of Famers were selected in the first round following the Eagles' pick, including Houston's selection of lineman Bruce Matthews at the No. 9 spot.
» 1983 NFL Draft

Lester Holmes and Leonard Renfro -- 1993 (No. 19, No. 24)
In 1993, Philadelphia had two first-round picks and five selections among the top 77 overall. With their first pick, the Eagles took Holmes from Jackson State, who lasted only 46 games. Up next was Renfro, a defensive tackle from Colorado, whose career lasted 23 games with a grand total of zero sacks. Two picks later, San Francisco selected Dana Stubblefield, who went on to be 1993 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and 1997 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The production from the next three Eagles picks was not much more fruitful. Receiver Victor Bailey was selected 50th, defensive backs Derrick Frazier went 75th and Mike Reid 77th. All in all, the '93 Draft was a disaster in Philly.
» 1993 NFL Draft

Freddie Mitchell -- 2001 (No. 25)
The Eagles were in desperate need of a playmaking receiver when they used the 25th overall pick in 2001 on UCLA's Mitchell. What they got was a guy who never cracked 500 yards in a season and scored only five touchdowns during a 63-game run in Philadelphia. On the bright side, Mitchell was on the receiving end of the fourth-and-26 play against the Green Bay Packers in the 2003 divisional playoffs, as well as Donovan McNabb's 15-second scramble against Dallas on "Monday Night Football" in 2004. However, Freddie's low point might have come when he claimed he didn't know the name of anyone in the Patriots secondary prior to Super Bowl XXXIX. In what would be Mitchell's final NFL game, he caught fewer passes from McNabb (one for 11 yards) than New England safety Rodney Harrison did (two INTs) as the Patriots captured the Lombardi Trophy. To put Mitchell's lack of production into perspective, he retired with career totals of 90 receptions, 1,263 yards and five touchdowns. Reggie Wayne was selected five picks later and has averaged 81 catches, 1,089 yards and seven scores per season over his 12-year career.
» 2001 NFL Draft

Follow Bill Sudell on Twitter @sudsysudell.

Best and worst draft picks
April 3: Chiefs | Jaguars
April 4: Raiders | Eagles
April 5: Lions | Browns
April 8: Bills | Cardinals
April 9: Jets | Titans
April 10: Chargers | Dolphins
April 11: Bucs | Panthers
April 12: Rams| Saints
April 15: Cowboys | Steelers
April 16: Bears | Giants
April 17: Bengals| Redskins
April 18: Colts | Vikings
April 19: Packers | Seahawks
April 22: Broncos| Texans
April 23: Falcons| Patriots
April 24: 49ers| Ravens

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