10 wild oddities, quirks and curiosities from throughout Eagles draft history

The first NFL draft was held on Feb. 8, 1936, at the old Philadelphia Ritz-Carlton Hotel, then located at Broad and Walnut – now the Daniel J. Terra Building at the University of the Arts.

Things were a little different back then.

There was no Combine, no Senior Bowl, no pro days. There were no mock drafts. There was no media coverage. NFL teams didn’t have scouts.

The league didn’t even immediately announce the results of the draft. Nobody cared.

The Eagles had the first pick in that 1936 draft and they selected Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger, a halfback from the University of Chicago. He opted to take a higher-paying job as a foam rubber salesman and never played pro football.

We’re guessing none of the 1st-round picks will make the same decision this year.

With the 89th NFL draft scheduled to begin Thursday night, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some Eagles draft trends from throughout the franchise’s history.

The only time the Eagles selected four Pro Bowlers in the same draft? The last time the Eagles had the first overall pick? The latest the Eagles have ever picked a player?

It’s all here.

1. The last five players the Eagles have selected with a pick in the 20s – 20 through 29 – have started a total of just 113 games in an Eagles uniform, an average of about 22 ½ per player. That group: Fireman Danny (23rd pick in 2011, Marcus Smith (26th pick in 2014), Nelson Agholor (20th pick in 2015), Andre Dillard (22nd pick in 2019) and Jalen Reagor (21st pick in 2020). The last pick between 20 and 29 to make a Pro Bowl was Lito Sheppard (26th in 2002). Before Sheppard you have Freddie Mitchell (25th in 2001), Jon Harris (25th in 1997), Jermane Mayberry (25th pick in 1996) and Leonard Renfro (24th pick in 1993). Out of those 10 players, only Mayberry, Sheppard and Agholor started more than 24 games in an Eagles uniform.

2. Going back to 1991, the Eagles have made 31 picks in the first round, and only eight of them weren’t offensive or defensive linemen. That group of eight includes five wide receivers (Freddie Mitchell, Jeremy Maclin, Nelson Agholor, Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith), two quarterbacks (Donovan McNabb, Carson Wentz) and one defensive back (Lito Sheppard).

3A. The most Pro Bowlers the Eagles have selected in the same draft is four in 1998. First-round pick Tra Thomas made three Pro Bowls, 3rd-round pick Jeremiah Trotter made four, 3rd-round pick Allen Rossum made one (with the Falcons) and 5th-round pick Ike Reese made one.

3B. That third round in 1998 is one of three instances that the Eagles have picked two Pro Bowlers in the same round. In 1949, they selected Chuck Bednarik first overall, and he made eight Pro Bowls, and quarterback Frank Tripucka from Notre Dame ninth overall. He never played for the Eagles and made his only Pro Bowl in 1962 with the Broncos. And in 1973, they took Jerry Sisemore with the third pick and Charle Young with the sixth. Sisemore made two Pro Bowls with the Eagles and Young made three.

4. The Eagles drafted four Pro Bowlers with picks at No. 240 or later – Hall of Famer Lou Creekmur (No. 243 in 1948), Kurt Coleman (No. 244 in 2010), Joe Lavender (No. 288 in 1973) and Mark Moseley (No. 346 in 1970). None of them made a Pro Bowl as an Eagle though. They drafted two players at No. 200 or later who made Pro Bowls as Eagles, and they were both in the 1986 draft – Seth Joyner at No. 208 in the eighth round and Clyde Simmons at No. 233 in the ninth round.

5A. The Eagles have only had the first overall pick three times. They selected Berwanger in 1936 and then Nebraska halfback Sam Francis a year later, but he also never played for the Eagles, opting instead to train for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, where he placed 4th in the shot put with a throw of 50-8 ¼. He wound up spending four non-descript seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates but never played for the Eagles. He averaged 3.5 yards on 253 career carries. He quit football to serve in the Army during World War II and never played again. The Eagles’ most recent first overall pick was Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik out of Penn in 1949.

5B. The latest the Eagles have ever picked a player is with the 470th overall pick. That was 1976, and it was a guy named Anthony Terry, a defensive back from Cal Davis. He never played in the NFL. The draft was 17 rounds that year and although there were longer drafts by round there weren’t by pick. There were 487 picks in 1976, the most ever. The draft was shortened to 12 rounds the next year.

6. Everybody knows the Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since Jerry Robinson in 1979. But their running back drought is almost as long. It’s been 38 years since the Eagles took a 1st-round running back. That was Keith Byars out of Ohio State in 1986. The only team that’s gone longer without drafting a running back in the first round is Washington, who hasn’t drafted a 1st-round running back since Ray McDonald out of Idaho in 1967. He played 13 games in his NFL career. The highest the Eagles have drafted a running back since Byars is Charlie Garner with the 42nd pick in 1994.

7. Only one of the first 21 players the Eagles drafted in 1945 ever played for the Eagles. That was Hall of Famer Pete Pihos in the fifth round.

8. The Eagles have drafted 10 Hall of Famers in the conventional draft and two more in the supplemental draft. Two of the 10 – George McAfee and Lou Creekmur – never played for the Eagles. McAfee, the second pick in 1940 out of Duke, spent his eight-year career (interrupted by a two-year stint in the Navy), with the Bears and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966. Creekmur, a 26th-round pick in 1948 out of William and Mary (243rd overall) and a Woodbridge, N.J., native, spent his 10-year career with the Lions. He was inducted in 1996. The eight Hall of Famers the Eagles drafted who actually played for the Eagles: Steve Van Buren (fifth pick in 1944), Pete Pihos (5th-round pick in 1945), Bednarik, Tommy McDonald (3rd-round pick) and Sonny Jurgensen (4th-round pick) both in 1957, Bob Brown (second pick in 1964), Harold Carmichael (7th-round pick in 1971) and Brian Dawkins (61st pick in 1996). Reggie White and Cris Carter were supplemental picks, White in 1984 and Carter in 1987.

9. The last player the Eagles drafted in the first five rounds who never got into an NFL game was Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson in 2019. The last player the Eagles drafted in the first four rounds who never got into an NFL game was San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey in 2017. The last player the Eagles drafted in the first three rounds who never got into an NFL game was Miami offensive lineman Matt Patchan in 1988. The last 2nd-round pick who never got into a game was Syracuse offensive tackle Don Yochum, the 37th player taken in 1972. And the last 1st-round pick who never played in the NFL was Johnny Bright, the fifth pick in 1952 out of Drake. Bright opted instead to play in the CFL and was the all-time leading rusher in CFL history from 1964, when he retired, until Mike Pringle passed him in 1998. Bright was inducted in the CFL Hall of Fame in 1970.

10. Of the Eagles’ last 19 picks in the third round, only one made a Pro Bowl, and that was Nick Foles in 2013. Going back to 1970, only four of the Eagles’ last 47 picks in the third round have made a Pro Bowl – Fred Barnett in 1990, Jeremiah Trotter in 1998, Brian Westbrook in 2002 and Foles.