As we near the draft, people like to talk about hilariously bad draft picks. And why not, that’s always a fun topic. There will always be bad draft picks because evaluating potential is an inexact science. But there’s a sub-genre of bad draft pick that goes unnoticed: the dumb draft pick. The one that was immediately questionable because of the logic behind it.
Today let’s laugh a little and revisit the dumbest draft picks in Eagles history, using Jeffery Lurie’s ownership as a time frame. These aren’t the worst draft picks in team history, though some of them are. Just the dumbest.
2014 - Marcus Smith, 1st round
Draft busts happen, it’s just part of the sport. But that nobody was willing to take blame for the Marcus Smith selection was a weird and dumb part of the weird and dumb saga of in-house drama between Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman that began with the 2014 offseason. Since it ended with a Super Bowl win, maybe we should thank whoever really pulled the trigger on the pick. Roseman took responsibility for the pick after regaining control of the Eagles in 2016, but he did so in a general “I’ll take the blame for everything” way. Someone fess up in detail please, because none of us could figure out what exactly happened.
2013 - Matt Barkley, 4th round
Some like to say that the NFL has no idea how to evaluate quarterbacks, but that’s not true. The NFL has gotten really good at determining who the good QBs are, and fairly good at determining who the terrible ones are too. The vast majority of good quarterbacks are drafted in the first two rounds, and nearly every quarterback taken after that can’t play. If the league wasn’t able to evaluate QBs at all, the good ones would be evenly distributed throughout the draft like they were through the 70s.
So when Matt Barkley, who started his final college season as a supposed top prospect in the draft, was on the board at 98, that should have been a huge red flag that he stinks. Instead, they traded up to take him.
The entire 2011 draft, except for Jason Kelce
The 2011 disaster of a draft has been written about at length, and not all of the picks were dumb, they were just plain bad, save for Jason Kelce. But these were dumb:
1st round - Danny Watkins—The Eagles were notorious for getting rid of players at or just before they turned 30, Watkins was 26 on draft day.
2nd round - Jaiquawn Jarrett—The Eagles were in need of a starting safety, and with the lockout the draft came before free agency, so they drafted for need.
4th round - Casey Matthews—Undersized as an outside linebacker, the Eagles, who had just made their offensive line coach their defensive coordinator, had the brilliant idea to make him an inside linebacker.
4th round - Alex Henery—Never draft a kicker.
6th round - Brian Rolle—Sure why not draft another undersized linebacker?
6th round - Greg Lloyd Jr.—My god how many do you need?
7th round - Stanley Havili—If you’re drafting a kicker why not draft a fullback too!
2009 Cornelius Ingram, 5th round
2008 Jack Ikegwuonu, 4th round
If you drafted a guy who blew his knee out and he didn’t do anything, maybe don’t do it again the next year.
2006 - Jeremy Bloom, 5th round
When a player is able to compete at a high level in multiple sports, that generally helps them excel. Jonathan Ogden was a NCAA champion shot putter, the strength and technique of shot putting has some translation to blocking defensive linemen. Bob Hayes was a world record sprinter, then was the best deep threat of his era.
But sometimes being great in another sport can hamper you. For Jeremy Bloom, this was doubly so. Bloom was an exciting returner and deep threat receiver for the University of Colorado. He was also a world champion freestyle skier. Though the Winter Olympics were just a few months ago, let’s take a moment to remember what freestyle skiing is: moguls and half pipes, where knees take a pounding and when it goes wrong skiers crash into things.
After his 2003 football season, the NCAA ruled him ineligible to participate because of the endorsements he earned while skiing.
In 2006, just two months after he competed in the Olympics, the Eagles drafted Bloom, who hadn’t played football for two years and spent the time in between training and competing in a sport that not only had no technical relevance to playing football but also took a pounding on his body.
He predictably got hurt and never played.
1997 - Jon Harris, 1st round
When the Eagles took Jon Harris in the 1st round, they stunned everyone, including Jon Harris. Harris was seen as a potential 3rd round pick, but they took him 27th overall, then defended it by talking about his wingspan, as if they had just drafted a backup for Derrick Coleman for the Sixers.
When the guy you drafted thinks you reached for him, you’re dumb.
1995 - Mike Mamula, 1st round
The poster boy for workout warriors. Mamula had a great Combine that valued him from potential 2nd or 3rd round pick into the conversation for a 1st round spot. Today everyone practices specifically for the Combine, but in 1995, plenty of participants simply showed up and did what they were told. Not Mamula, whose pre-Combine training would be common place 20 years later but at the time was ahead of the curve. The Eagles, looking to add a pass rusher in the first full offseason of the Jeffrey Lurie Era, were wowed by what they saw. They traded two additional draft picks to the Buccanneers to move up to get him. The Bucs took their own pass rusher: Warren Sapp, who terrorized the Eagles for years. Nine picks after Mamula came Hugh Douglas, who had 54.5 sacks for the Eagles after the Eagles gave up two draft picks in a trade in 1998. They could have saved face and four draft picks and just taken Douglas.