With their final pick in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL draft, the Eagles selected RB Bryce Brown. This was an odd selection because on the surface it was hard to see why the Eagles, or any team, would use a draft pick on Bryce Brown.
This is a guy who quit two different college football teams and didn't even produce. You'll see teams take flyers on a guy with a bad attitude that was at least productive in college. Bryce Brown didn't just fail to produce, he barely even played the last two years. Not because he was hurt.... because he didn't want to. He had three carries over two seasons at Kansas St.
So what on earth could have made the Eagles pick this guy? Surely it can't just be his high school pedigree. The list of great high school players who never did anything is miles long. As it turns out, there were a lot of things that led the Eagles to change their mind on Brown.
- Kansas St. coach Bill Snyder allowed Brown to work out at the Kansas St. pro day. This impressed the Eagles because typically if a guy quits or gets kicked off a team, he is simply not allowed to attend that team's pro day and for good reason. The fact that Snyder welcomed Brown back intrigued the Eagles.
"For him to be comfortable enough to have Bryce come back meant that he feels Bryce was very sorry for the way he handled things,'' said Howie Roseman. "That meant a lot to all of us.''
- Brown was pretty awesome at that pro day, running a 4.37 40. Keep in mind that this is a 6 foot, 220 pound back we're talking about. He's bigger and faster than LeSean McCoy. The athleticism that made him the #1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school was still there. If anything, he was even stronger and faster.
"You're talking about a kid,'' said Andy Reid, "who is an inch under 6 foot, and is 220 pounds and who runs a 4.4 forty. You're talking about tremendous, tremendous skills here. He catches the ball effortlessly and is a smooth, smooth runner.
- Lane Kiffin, who recruited Brown to Tennessee (both guys would end up quitting the Vols before long) also vouched for Brown. Here's another thing you didn't know, Reid & Roseman are buddies with Lane Kiffin.
"When you speak to Lane Kiffin, he just says this guy was going to be a star,'' Roseman said. "We spent enough time with him to get his full story and to feel comfortable with that.''
The Eagles were one of only three teams to privately work out Brown, this is something that was never reported. IT seemed as though several teams were sneaky interested in Brown as a UDFA and thought they may have been the only ones."
"I spoke to a couple of teams,'' said Roseman. "who said, 'why did you have to draft him?' and I kind of probed a little bit and it was because they thought they could get him as a free agent.''
Grabbing a guy with a 7th round pick means you get to skip a possible UDFA bidding war (yes, those exist.)
So on the surface, Bryce Brown is arguably the oddest pick the Eagles have made in years... but they really did their due diligence on the guy. He's still got to be considered a long shot, but this was not a pick the Eagles made lightly.
For more on the Eagles process to picking Bryce Brown, check out the story from Go Vols Xtra.