While most of the attention in the NFL draft centers on the first couple of rounds, the later rounds are almost as important. This is where many of the best NFL players have been discovered. In fact, some of the best players on the current Philadelphia Eagles team have come from the fourth round or later. These are guys that didn't generate a lot of hype from the experts but were able to prove themselves on the field. The Eagles have found pretty of gems in the fourth round or later under Andy Reid. Here is a look back at the best draft choices in the later rounds under the current coach.
2005 - Trent Cole
A fifth round pick in what has proven to be a solid draft for the Eagles, Cole has been a beast on the defensive line. He has been a regular starter since his rookie year and managed to reach multiple Pro Bowls. He has 68 career sacks, including three straight with at least 10. Cole is one of the better defensive ends in the NFL. He was a steal at this draft position.
2005 - Todd Herremans
The Eagles struck the jackpot during the fourth round in 2005. Herremans has been a solid player on the team ever since he was selected. He started four games as a rookie and has been a regular since then. He has remained mostly healthy and proven to be a player that can play at various spots on the line. Other late round linemen like King Dunlap and Max Jean-Gilles have also proven to be solid players, but Herremans is a franchise player. The Eagles extended his contract in the offseason, meaning he will be here for the foreseeable future.
2007 - Brent Celek
The 2007 fifth rounder has become a franchise tight end. Celek has great hands and can be a huge asset in terms of blocking. He has started 46 of 48 games in the last three seasons and has become another great skill player on this team. Celek is also a team leader and he won't be going anywhere for a long time.
2001 - A.J. Feeley
Feeley never became a star quarterback for the Eagles. However, the fifth rounder did yield a lot of results for the team during his time. In 2002 he filled in for the final five games of the season and helped the Eagles secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Eagles ended up trading him to the Miami Dolphins for a second round pick. He returned to Philadelphia in 2006 and became a solid backup option for the team. That's not bad for a guy taken as an afterthought.
2006 - Jason Avant
A fourth round pick in 2006, Avant has been a solid slot receiver for the Eagles for six seasons. Though he has never been the top guy, he has been able to fill in at various spots. He is also a great option when three receivers are on the field. Avant has had 50 catches in each of the last two seasons. The Eagles have gotten some great value from him over the years.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Eagles fan.
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