Looking back at Eagles drafts: Ranking the best value picks of Andy Reid era

In the past few days, I ranked the first, second and third round picks of the Andy Reid era. In this piece, I’ll be taking a look at the best value picks of this time period. I only took players who were selected between the fourth and seventh round, and I’m only looking at the top 10 guys since it would make little sense to highlight some of the picks that didn’t work out considering these round picks usually don’t anyway. I’ll preface it with this warning though: while there are definitely some good value picks, he didn’t really make a lot of them. Here’s what I came up with:

Important Notes

-Position distribution: 7 offense, 3 defense
-Round distribution: fourth round (5), fifth round (3), sixth round (1), seventh round (1)
-Players remaining on team: 3

1. DE/LB Trent Cole (2005, fifth round)

Cole is definitely the best value pick that Reid ever had. Selected in the fifth round, he went on to be one of the best defensive players to ever play for Reid. In 10 seasons, he totaled 436 tackles and 85.5 sacks, most of which were at defensive end. He was moved to outside linebacker when the Eagles switched to a 3-4 defense, but he still did very well. He was released this offseason to create more cap space, but he was a very talented and well-liked Eagle for a long time.

2. C Jason Kelce (2011, sixth round)

Kelce is a key part of the team’s offensive line right now, and has been for the past few years. Ever since taking over as a starter, he’s turned in two Pro Bowl-caliber seasons (despite only earning one) on one of the best offensive lines in the league. Kelce also went to University of Cincinnati (Cole did too), so maybe the Eagles should try picking guys from there more often. He recently signed a long-term deal and should be in Philly for a long time to come as a centerpiece (no pun intended) of this offense.

3. OL Todd Herremans (2005, fourth round)

Herremans was another very good offensive lineman the Eagles got in a later round. Taken in the fourth round and in the same draft as Cole, Herremans went on to play 10 seasons as well, playing in 127 games in all and starting almost every single one of them. He was versatile as well, moving around between guard and tackle throughout his career depending on where they needed him. Like Cole though, he was released this offseason to create more cap space. Again like Cole, he signed with the Colts this offseason.

4. TE Brent Celek (2007, fifth round)

Celek was yet another University of Cincinnati alum who excelled on the Eagles despite being a late round pick. Celek remains on the team as the top tight end, although his career in Philly may be coming to an end soon. Either way, he has been solid as a rock while he’s been here, totaling 4,315 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has been essentially injury-free as well, missing just one game in his career so far. He has recently been asked to block a bit more while Zach Ertz takes over some of the pass-catching duties at tight end, but Celek has proven he can do it all at the position.

5. CB Brandon Boykin (2012, fourth round)

Boykin has only played three seasons with the Eagles, but his 2013 season alone was enough to get him a spot on this list. His six interceptions was one of the highest totals in the league, and while he didn’t make the Pro Bowl that year, he has been consistently ranked as one of the best slot cornerbacks in the whole league. His shorter stature is what has likely prevented him from moving to the outside, and when Walter Thurmond was signed it didn’t look good for Boykin, but Thurmond has since been playing safety, so maybe Boykin will remain in the slot. If he can prove he’s a good enough nickel cornerback without getting greedy and trying to play outside, he could stick around in Philly a while longer.

6. WR Jason Avant (2006, fourth round)

Avant was a very solid receiver for the Eagles for eight seasons, totaling 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns over his career. He was sometimes asked to start and play in the slot, but he often was more of a fourth receiver who could come in and get the big catch when you needed him. He was eventually released because he was too expensive, but it was likely on good terms. He has since been reunited with Reid in Kansas City.

7. OL John Welbourn (1999, fourth round)

Welbourn wasn’t amazing, but he was definitely good enough to earn a starting spot on the offensive line for four years. He started 56 games, all of which were at left guard. I think he could’ve lasted longer on the team, but after five years he was traded to the Chiefs.

8. RB Correll Buckhalter (2001, fourth round)

Buckhalter dealt with tons of injuries over his career, but when he was healthy, he was a very solid backup running back who could come in for a spot start and make an impact. He had nine touchdowns in 2003, but could never build up momentum in his career due to season-long injuries, which ended his 2002, 2004 and 2005 seasons without playing a game. Regardless, he was solid for a fourth rounder.

9. S Kurt Coleman (2010, seventh round)

Coleman was nothing special and didn’t last long on the team, but was called upon to start for a few seasons and did better than people might think. He finished his Eagles career with 157 tackles and seven interceptions, which is a lot better than any other seventh round pick Reid had during his coaching career in Philly. He was also a solid special teams player when he wasn’t starting, which is probably where he was better suited.

10. QB A.J. Feeley (2001, fifth round)

Feeley really wasn’t a good quarterback, but he had some very important performances and wins for the Eagles down the stretch in seasons where they relied on him to get them into the playoffs while Donovan McNabb recovered from an injury. Feeley’s 4-1 record in 2012 was a great stretch of games considering he was originally a third string quarterback. The best part about him was the Eagles flipped him for a second round pick, and after he was eventually released, they signed him back. Talk about a good move there.

While the bottom half of this list doesn’t have anyone amazing, it’s very difficult to find solid players in these rounds who end up lasting a long time on the team. The Bearcat trio were all great picks, and Herremans and Welbourn were solid starters for the Eagles while they lasted. And the fact that three of these guys are still on the team (and two were just released) shows these guys were in for the long haul. That’s what I like to see out of draft picks.

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