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The Story Of The Very First Ever Eagles Draft Pick

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With the 2012 NFL draft mere hours away, I thought it might be interesting to go back the very first NFL draft. It was in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia and was officially called "the annual player selection meeting (it still is actually)." By virtue of winning a lottery, the Eagles had the #1 overall pick.

With that selection, they picked All American Jay Berwanger out of the University of Chicago. He had won the first ever "Downtown Athletic Club" Trophy, which was later renamed the Heisman trophy. However, put off by his $1,000 per game demands, the Eagles traded his rights to the Chicago Bears. They couldn't meet his demands either and Berwanger opted to go to work in a local Chicago rubber plant over playing in the NFL.

So that's the story of the first ever Eagles draft pick. They were outbid for his services by a rubber plant.

They story of the very first is actually really interesting. There were no scouts or publications that covered college prospects in any way that aggregated them all. So the teams all got together at the Ritz-Carlton and just started writing as many names as they could think of on a big chalkboard. Then, as they made the picks, they'd just cross the name off. Over 8 rounds, 81 players were picked, 24 of which opted to not play in the league.

Suffice to say, we've come a long way.


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