I decided to do a little write-up about what might have happened if some of the key Eagles draft picks had been picked by other teams. (Note that key doesn’t necessarily mean good in this case, just notable) I chose one player from each year, starting at the 2009 Draft and going through 2009. Just for fun and something to consider. This was nothing scientific; I didn’t do any crazy research and there will be plenty of room for dissent. Feel free to choose your own pick if the Eagles hadn’t taken who they did.
1999: With the first overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft, Cleveland selects Donovan McNabb, QB, Syracuse
This idea has already been discussed on these boards, but it’s an interesting idea. Would the Browns have been better with McNabb than Tim Couch? We’ll never really know. Cleveland had some serious problems so it’s hard to know whether Couch would have been any good behind a better line. My prediction is that McNabb would have been a Michael Vick-in-Atlanta situation: he would have made a bad team better because of his ability to scramble, but unlike Atlanta, Cleveland had a terrible defense and a worse offensive line. McNabb would be seen as a dynamic playmaker, but the team wouldn’t win much more than it did, and McNabb would never be considered a great QB.
The Eagles select: Tim Couch or Ricky Williams
2000: With the 32nd overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Cleveland selects WR Todd Pinkston
Another one Cleveland stole from us. But we’ll let them have him. Pinkston had a very average career in Philadelphia with only 2,000 receiving yards in 5 seasons with the team. Pinkston would probably have put up similar numbers in Cleveland; possibly worse due to QB quality, possibly better because he might be higher on the depth chart. It’s hard to say, but I don’t think Todd Pinkston was ever meant to be a star. I think the biggest loss for the Eagles here is that we likely wouldn’t have hired Pinkston as a WR coach.
The Eagles select: Dennis Northcutt
2001: With the 16th overall pick of the 2001 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select WR Freddie Mitchell
Fred-Ex in New York? That would have been one hell of a circus. I think he would’ve looked good in a Jets uniform, and he would have filled in admirably for the loss of Keyshawn Johnson’s big mouth. Mitchell would likely have fallen in as the slot receiver in New York behind Laveraneus Coles and Wayne Chrebet, but it really doesn’t matter because the guy was a bum as a WR. I still think it would’ve been interesting to hear how his quotes would’ve gone over in the New York media.
2002: With the 56th overall pick of the 2002 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select RB Brian Westbrook
We really got a steal with Westbrook at the 90th pick, but if teams hadn’t underrated him so much he might’ve landed with our division rivals. Washington at pick 56 took Ladell Betts, the only other RB to be taken between picks 52 and 98. Obviously the Eagles got one of the biggest draft steals on the year, if not the biggest. Westbrook was one of the best Eagles ever, but he could have been one of the best Redskins ever and we would have had to watch him tear apart the Eagles’ defense just like he did to the Giants, Cowboys, and Redskins.
The Eagles select: Ladell Betts (58) Michael Lewis (59) CB Kris Richard (90) – we miss out on Sheldon Brown, who we originally took at 59 after taking Michael Lewis at 58.
2003: With the 14th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select DE Jerome McDougle
What can be said here…? Picks 13-15 of the 2003 Draft were all DEs, and 14 and 15 were busts. We switch DEs with Chicago and take DE Michael Haynes. Yippee. Both players go down in
The Eagles select: DE Michael Haynes
2004: With the 2nd overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders select OT Shawn Andrews
Fitting, no? The Raiders get an immensely talented player who has little desire to play football, loves weed, and scratches the record all night long. All-in-all, this would probably be the best first-round pick the Raiders have had in the past 10 years (Sebastian Janikowski is an interesting debate) but after just five underachieving seasons Andrews is out of the league. Still, Andrews is a better pick then the one they took at number two in reality, Robert Gallery. Yikes.
The Eagles select: Robert Gallery (hopefully not) or Vernon Carey
2005: With the 139th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Cleveland selects DE Trent Cole
Dammit Cleveland, knock it off! It’s amazing how often the perceived needs of Cleveland and Philly seem to be the same in particular rounds. Cleveland now has McNabb (assuming he survived 6 years behind that line) and a great defensive end. Trent Cole gives instant legitimacy to the Browns defense, and they might not be completely awful… Nahh, they’re still bad.
The Eagles select: DE David MacMillan
2006: With the 12th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Ravens select DT Broderick Bunkley
The Ravens get a ridiculously ripped DT (if you don’t believe me you should look up his combine picture, or somebody could post it in the comments… followed by Atogwe… just a suggestion) although I’m not sure he fits their system. This pick isn’t anything too radical, because…
The Eagles select: Haloti Ngata (both teams get excellent DTs; I think Bunk is underrated and Ngata is a beast)
2007: With the 34th overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Bills select QB Kevin Kolb
Well that would’ve been interesting, right? Maybe not at the time, but it is now. The Bills most likely would have started Kolb earlier than he started in Philadelphia, based on what they did with Trent Edwards. We’d certainly know by now whether Kolb was going to be good or not, and who knows what our QB situation would be like. Do we take another QB in the 2007 draft? Do we take a QB another year? Do we stick with McNabb longer? All sorts of interesting questions that don’t matter, because Kolb is an Eagle.
2008: With the 46th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select WR DeSean Jackson
Another pick that just seems fitting in retrospect. Imagine Ochocinco and DeSean on the same team… that would have been a lot of fun. I almost wish this had happened, just so I could see what it was like. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, I’d never want to lose Jackson, but the idea of Chad and DeSean on the same team is just so much fun. Plus it provides Cincy with an incredibly dynamic WR combo that would terrorize opposing defenses. Hopefully that’s what we see next year and for many years to come with DeSean and Maclin.
(As a side note, as I was writing this ESPN just made a FredEx reference… during a baseball game)
The Eagles select: DE Calais Campbell or WR Malcolm Kelly
2009: With the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Raiders select WR Jeremy Maclin
This move would have made sense, but making sense just isn’t what the Raiders do. Instead Al Davis decided to spend the 7th overall pick on a prospect that was projected as anywhere from a late first to third rounder. Had they chosen Maclin… well who are we kidding, it wouldn’t have mattered. Who would get him the ball?
The Eagles select: WR Percy Harvin