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Have the Eagles drafted better in the 2nd round than the 1st?

Have the Eagles drafted better in the 2nd round than the 1st? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We just don’t talk enough about the second round.

It’s always all about the first round. Who will the Eagles take at 22? Will they trade up or trade down? What about Howie Roseman’s 1st-round track record? What's the 1st-round mock draft look like?

Which is all fascinating stuff. But it ignores something just as important as the first round.

The second round.

The reality is that the Eagles historically have found almost as many elite players in the second round as the first round. Recently, they’ve found more.

Since 1980, the Eagles have drafted 14 players in the first round who’ve made a total of 39 Pro Bowls and 12 players in the second round who’ve made a total of 32 Pro Bowls. Not much difference.

Since Howie Roseman became vice president of player personnel in 2008, the Eagles have drafted four Pro Bowlers in the first round and six in the second round.

The Eagles have found plenty of elite players in the first round over the years.

But let’s take a look at the second round.

DeSean Jackson and Zach Ertz rank third and fifth in franchise history in receiving, both well over 6,000 yards. Second-round picks. The only Eagles 1st-round pick to even reach 5,000 yards for the Eagles is Mike Quick.

All-time Eagles leading rusher LeSean McCoy? Second-round pick. In fact, the Eagles have drafted three Pro Bowl running backs in the second round (McCoy, Miles Sanders, Billy Ray Barnes) since their last 1st-round Pro Bowl running back (Steve Van Buren).

Of the five quarterbacks the Eagles have drafted who've taken the Eagles to the playoffs, two are 1st-round picks - Donovan McNabb and Carson Wentz - and two are 2nd-round picks - Randall Cunningham and Jalen Hurts. And Nick Foles was a 3rd-round pick.

Brian Dawkins, Eric Allen and Wes Hopkins all had between 30 and 34 interceptions in an Eagles uniform. And made a combined 13 Pro Bowls. All 2nd-round picks.

The most INTs by an Eagles 1st-round pick? Roynell Young’s 23.

Throw in Bobby Taylor, Sheldon Brown and even Nate Allen, and six Eagles 2nd-round defensive backs have had double-digit INTs as Eagles. Only two Eagles 1st-round picks have had 10 interceptions – Young and Lito Sheppard (18).

Roseman has certainly had his share of 2nd-round misses – Jaiquawn Jarrett, Sidney Jones and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside come to mind. But you can make the case that he’s drafted better in the second round than the first, especially recently.

Since 2013, he’s selected four Pro Bowlers in the second round - Ertz, Miles Sanders, Hurts and Landon Dickerson – but only two in the first round – Lane Johnson and Wentz.

The 2022 Super Bowl team had more 2nd-round starters drafted by the Eagles (Goedert, Sanders, Hurts, Dickerson) than 1st-round picks (Cox, DeVonta Smith, Johnson).

All of this is pertinent this week because the Eagles go into this year’s draft with two 2nd-round picks.

This could change, and Roseman could use one of the 2nd-round picks to trade up from the first round. But as of now the Eagles own the 22nd pick in the first round and No. 50 and 53 in the second round.

And while we’re all focusing on No. 22, history says the Eagles have a better chance of landing a superstar if they pick twice in the second round than once in the first round.

Several times in recent years, the Eagles’ 2nd-round pick turned out far better than the first:

2014: Marcus Smith in the first, Jordan Matthews in the second.

2019: Andre Dillard in the first round, Miles Sanders in the second.

2020: Jalen Reagor in the first round, Jalen Hurts in the second.

In 2015 – Chip Kelly’s draft – Nelson Agholor was the 1st-round pick and Eric Rowe the 2nd—round pick, and Nelly did have a better Eagles career, even though he was mainly disappointing other than the Super Bowl. But the last time the Eagles drafted a star in the first round but not in the second was 2012, with Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks.

Here are the 10-best 1st-round picks in Eagles history: Chuck Bednarik, Mike Quick, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Jerome Brown, Donovan McNabb, Steve Van Buren, Bob Brown, Tra Thomas and Keith Jackson.

And the 10-best 2nd-round picks in Eagles history: Brian Dawkins, Eric Allen, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Wes Hopkins, Maxie Baughan, Zach Ertz, Randall Cunningham, Jalen Hurts and Landon Dickerson.

Which group would you rather have? It’s not an easy call.

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