“ With the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select…Ricky Williams.” This was what every fan wanted to hear. When former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced the name of “Donovan McNabb” instead of “Ricky Williams”, the Eagles’ fans began to verbally abuse poor McNabb. I can remember the scene, the one where McNabb is holding up his Eagles jersey with Paul Tagliabue, and hearing the brutality of the Eagles’ fans as they continued to bash the draft choice. What a day that was, not just for McNabb, but also for Ricky Williams. The University of Texas star running back was predicted by, almost everyone who knew anything about football, to be drafted 2nd overall to the Eagles. We all know the outcome of that day, but what would have happened had the Eagles selected Ricky Williams?
First, Donovan McNabb would never have become a member of the Eagles. Which would appear to be a huge deficit, since Ricky Williams never became the player that everyone expected him to be. So where would have McNabb landed? The answer to that question is impossible to find out, but there would have been a good chance that Donovan McNabb would have landed in Cincinnati, who selected QB Akili Smith with the 3rd overall pick in the 1999 Draft. The other team that may have drafted McNabb was the Minnesota Vikings, who held the 11th pick, and used the selection to draft Daunte Culpepper. Imagine Donovan McNabb leading the Vikings heading into 2009, with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, and the stout defense of the Vikings. With McNabb possibly on the Vikings, who knows, but maybe Brett Favre would be “officially” retired!
With McNabb as the general of the Vikings, who would have led the Eagles? Well, this is another tough answer, as there are many factors that may or may not have affected this decision. In the 1999 Draft, with the Eagles selecting Williams in the first round, it would be reasonable to think that Andy Reid would have taken a QB in the 2nd round. Their actual selection in that round was Northwestern linebacker Barry Gardner, who really never did much while in Philly. The QB that would most likely have been selected would have been Shaun King of Tulane. Yikes! That is far from what McNabb ever became. How would you have liked to been wearing a #10 jersey on Sundays, with King written on the back. Listen to the list of quarterbacks that we would have had in 1999. Shaun King, Doug Pederson, and Koy Detmer. I don’t know about you guys, but that lineup may have gone down as the worst in the history of the NFL. If we did not select King, the next option would have been Brock Huard. Another bum that is currently a college football analyst, along with Shaun King. Let’s take a look at McNabb’s career stats: 29,320 passing yards with 194 TD’s. Now let’s look at the stats of Shaun King and Brock Huard ( to make the comparison somewhat closer, I had to combine both King’s and Huard’s career stats! ). Between the two, they have thrown for 5,225 yards with 31 TD’s. That’s worse than comparing Brian Westbrook to Reno Mahe!
Clearly, the Eagles would suffer without Donovan McNabb. Besides the quarterback position, what else would be affected with the selection of Ricky Williams? The Eagles may never have selected Brian Westbrook in 2002. The Eagles would have felt comfortable entering the draft with their crop of backs: Ricky Williams, Duce Staley, and Correll Buckhalter. Instead of taking Westbrook in the 3rd round, the Eagles would possibly have selected WR Eric Crouch, to fill the need at WR. We all know how he did in the NFL. In case you don’t know anything about him ( if so, good for you ), he was the Heisman winner at Nebraska, but never took a snap in the NFL, and eventually quit the NFL. You never know though, maybe being selected by the Eagles would have saved his career, but personally, I really wouldn’t want him anyway, he was just another star college player who became a fraud in the NFL. We can never tell how the Eagles would have done in 2001, to determine their draft position in 2002, but we all know that the Eagles would most likely not have selected Brian Westbrook, who has grown into one of the best players in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles.
In 2004. Ricky Williams faced a 1 year suspension from the NFL after being caught with marijuana. From this point on, he never evolved into what the scouts said he would coming out of college. Also in 2004, the Eagles lost Duce Staley to inner state rival, Pittsburgh. With that in mind, the Eagles would be left with Correll Buckhalter as their only back in 2004. So how would the Eagles approach the 2004 Draft? With their first round selection, the Eagles drafted Shawn Andrews. Their next pick came in the 2nd round, where they picked safety Matt Ware. This pick would have been different, as I do not see them picking Ware, when the desperately needed a halfback. Instead, they would possibly have selected RB Mewelde Moore, or Cedric Cobbs. Both halfbacks have done nothing in the NFL, and would not have helped the Eagles. The Eagles would obviously have been one of the cellar dwellers of the NFL with the selection of Ricky Williams.
What else would have been affected with the selection of Ricky Williams? Well, sorry to say, but the 2004 Super Bowl appearance most likely would not have happened, and Terrell Owens probably would never have been an Eagle. As much as everyone hates Owens, we all loved him as an Eagle, and he was the only member of the team who did something in the Super Bowl. How about Kevin Kolb? That is uncertain, but for now, I will say that he would be an Eagle, and probably would be leading the Birds into the 2009 season. In 2005, the Eagles would have had at least one less victory, since Matt Ware would not have been on the team, and his 65 yard game winning touchdown return off of a blocked field never would have taken place. Also, Correll Buckhalter would probably still be on the team, and not with the Denver Broncos. We all love DeSean Jackson, but I would say that he would not be an Eagle, and he most likely would have been drafted two picks later to the Washington Redskins. Who would have been drafted instead of Jackson? Possibly a QB, such as Brian Brohm or Chad Henne, who were selected a couple picks after Jackson. There are certainly more changes that would have taken place, but I really don’t have the time to go and try to figure out the changes.
The point of this article was to show you how important McNabb is to the Eagles. For all the fans who continue to blast McNabb about his play, just take a look at this article, and think of what the Eagles would look like without him. Would you want Kevin Kolb or Brian Brohm instead of McNabb? Or Mewelde Moore and Correll Buckhalter instead of Brian Westbrook? Or Eric Crouch leading the wideouts? That’s what I thought! I hope this article has made all of you think about how thankful you are for having McNabb. So next time you bad mouth McNabb, think of Brian Brohm throwing a deep route to Eric Crouch, and you will quickly change your attitude toward McNabb.