Looking back at Eagles drafts: Ranking the Andy Reid era draft classes

After ranking each Eagles draft between 1999 and 2012, it only makes sense to put them all together and rank them. Some of them received the same grade, but I’ll do my best to give an accurate ranking. First, here are some notes:

Important notes

Drafts receiving A+, A or A- grade: 0
Drafts receiving B+, B or B- grade: 4
Drafts receiving C+, C or C- grade: 3
Drafts receiving D+, D or D- grade: 6
Drafts receiving F grade: 1

1. 2012 Draft (B+)

I really find it ironic that Andy Reid‘s best draft was his last with the Eagles. Did it really take him 14 years to finally get it right, or did he just have a ton of bad luck? To be honest, I think he finally just got some good luck with the 2012 draft. Five players from it still remain on the team, and the first five guys he picked were all good players. Fletcher Cox, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry are all very important players for the defense, as well as Brandon Boykin, who was taken in the fourth round and someone I rated as one of Reid’s best value picks. Nick Foles was also in this draft, who I think could’ve been more if he lasted a longer time. Finally, Reid got a good one.

2. 2002 Draft (B)

A whole decade earlier, Reid had a very similar draft. He took three straight defensive players, all of which were defensive backs, and they all were very talented (Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis and Sheldon Brown). He then followed it up with Brian Westbrook in the third round, who is one of Reid’s best picks ever. He even took Raheem Brock in the seventh round, but made the mistake of not holding on to him. Otherwise, this had the chance to be the best draft Reid ever had.

3. 1999 Draft (B-)

Even though most of this draft was bad, it was salvaged when Reid made his first ever pick as an Eagles coach: Donovan McNabb. McNabb went on to be the best quarterback in Eagles history, and one of the best players overall during this time period. Other than John Welbourn in the fourth round, most of this draft was lackluster or forgettable, but the McNabb pick alone bumps up this draft grade a lot. Had it been an average first round pick, this draft might’ve received a D grade. The point: never underestimate the value of a franchise quarterback.

4. 2005 Draft (B-)

This draft received the same grade as the 1999 class, but was a bit more spread out in talent. It featured some top value picks in Todd Herremans (fourth round) and Trent Cole (fifth round), both of whom lasted 10 seasons with the team. It also featured Mike Patterson in the first round, who had a nice, long career with the Eagles. Even Reggie Brown and Sean Considine had some good seasons too. A very solid draft.

5. 2009 Draft (C+)

The 2009 draft was just above average, and even after I improved its grade afterward, I still might have been a little harsh. It featured Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy in the first and second round respectively, both of whom had very good careers with the Eagles. The one reason this draft didn’t get a higher grade is because neither guy is still on the team. In fact, no one from this draft is, and it’s only six years later. Also, it didn’t have a third or fourth round pick, which is strange. Nobody else made an impact for the Eagles from this group.

6. 2004 Draft (C-)

Is it fair to give a draft a C- based on one player? Well, if this one didn’t have Shawn Andrews, the three-time Pro Bowler, this draft would’ve been a complete failure. Really no one else from this class did anything for the team, and most were gone within a few years. They didn’t have a second round pick and picked seven offensive players compared to just three defensive players. They took four offensive linemen including Andrews, but the other three were just flat out bad.

7. 2008 Draft (C-)

Also receiving a C- grade, the 2008 draft was a little more balanced than the 2004 draft, although I use that term very loosely. Trevor Laws was a bust of a first pick (he was taken in the second round), lasting his rookie deal and then nothing else. DeSean Jackson was a great player when he lasted, making some sensational plays each year, but not even he could salvage this class. Bryan Smith was Reid’s worst third round pick ever, and the rest were throwaway picks.

8. 2006 Draft (D+)

Wow, we’re already at the below average grade drafts and there are still a bunch to go. This one featured Jason Avant as probably the best player, or at least the one who lasted the longest. He was a good value pick, going in the fourth round. Brodrick Bunkley was the definition of average, yet he was a first round pick. Winston Justice and Chris Gocong were also nothing special for second and third round picks respectively, finding themselves on different teams relatively quickly. Not much went right here.

9. 2000 Draft (D+)

Another D+ draft. Ugh. Corey Simon was the first round pick in this one, and he actually did well for the relatively short time he was with the team, earning a Pro Bowl one year. Todd Pinkston was a bad second round pick, Bobbie Williams played most of his career with different teams, and the last three guys never even played in an NFL game. This one was pretty bad.

10. 2010 Draft (D+)

I originally gave this draft a D grade, but I had to give it a slight upgrade after comparing it to the other ones I gave the same grade…it didn’t compare to the awfulness of those. Brandon Graham was the first round pick from this one, and while he’s still on the team and is slated to be a starting outside linebacker after a solid career as a backup, it’s not like he’s tearing it up and making Pro Bowls. Nate Allen was okay, but as a second round pick, that’s a bit of a stretch to call it even a mediocre pick. Riley Cooper and Kurt Coleman were both in this 13-pick draft class, and both had at least one good season. Other than that, a lot of misses.

11. 2001 Draft (D)

Freddie Mitchell was the first round pick. That’s really all you need to know. As if he weren’t bad enough, they took LB Quinton Caver in the second round, who did essentially nothing in the year and a half with the team. A.J. Feeley and Correll Buckhalter were okay, but nothing special. Not even close enough to call this even an average draft. It was bad.

12. 2007 Draft (D)

It really seemed like the Eagles had no idea what they were doing with this draft class. They seemed panicked every time they came up on the clock. When it was time for their first round pick, they randomly traded out of the first round and selected Kevin Kolb and Victor Abiamiri in the second round. Both guys were bad. Steward Bradley was okay for a couple years, but then they took a fullback in the third round. Wow. Brent Celek in the fifth round really saved this draft from being a complete disaster.

13. 2011 Draft (D)

It is hard to put into words just how bad most of this draft was. They were in desperate need of talent, and they came away with an old guard as a first round pick (who was a bust), a severely underachieving local safety in the second round (who was gone almost immediately), Curtis Marsh in the third round (who I’ve run out of words for when criticizing him) and a kicker in the fourth round. It’s just mind-boggling how bad this draft was. Jason Kelce in the sixth round was a savior for this draft, as it would’ve been an obvious failing grade otherwise. It also featured two sons of famous linebackers, Casey Matthews and Greg Lloyd, who both did nothing for the Eagles. But there was one draft that was worse…

14. 2003 Draft (F)

This is the only draft I was able to give an F to. Yes, it was that bad. While the 2007 and 2011 draft each had one good value pick in the later rounds, this draft featured only six players, and all of them were bad. Jerome McDougle was the first round pick, and he’s easily one of the worst first round picks in franchise history. L.J. Smith was average at best, yet was a second round pick. Billy McMullen went in the third round and was horrible. Jamaal Green went in the fourth round and played eight games in two seasons. The final two guys never played a game in an Eagles jersey. Just absolutely pitiful.

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