NFL draft: 5 notable moments from past Philadelphia Eagles drafts
North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz poses with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Philadelphia Eagles as second pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
It’s the week of the NFL draft in Philadelphia, and the Eagles will soon be on the clock. They’ve had their fair share of booms and busts in the past, but they’ve also been part of some general weirdness in the event. Here are five notable moments the Eagles have been involved in through the draft’s history.
University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger is shown in 1934 in the action pose that served as the model for the Heisman Trophy. Berwanger was the first winner of college football’s Downtown Athletic Club Award, renamed the Heisman Trophy in 1936, and was the number one pick in the first National Football League (NFL) draft. (AP Photo)
The first Heisman Trophy winner was the first pick of the first NFL draft. It’s a nice bit of symmetry. But the Eagles’ first-ever draft pick never suited up for the Birds. After receiving his salary demands, the Eagles traded him to the Chicago Bears, and Berwanger wound up never playing in the NFL.
Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb poses with family and friends after being chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s first pick, second overall, in the NFL draft in New York Saturday, April 17, 1999. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
The draft in 1999 appeared to be loaded with quarterbacks, with five coming off the board in the top 12 picks. There were also a couple top-level skill players in the mix, such as Ricky Williams, Edgerrin James, Torry Holt and Champ Bailey. The Birds, though, went with Donovan McNabb, and he became the franchise’s cornerstone throughout the 2000s.
Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, right, is escorted through a crowd of media members and autograph-seekers on his way to an interview with the Philadelphia Eagles at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Thursday, April 8, 1999. The Eagles have the second pick in the NFL draft and are considering Williams. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
McNabb turned out to be a pick that altered the course of the Eagles franchise, but he wasn’t exactly the most popular pick right off the bat. There was a vocal contingent of Eagles fans who wanted the Birds to select Ricky Williams out of Texas instead of the Syracuse quarterback. So local radio personality Angelo Cataldi organized a group of fans — now known as the “Dirty Thirty” — to attend the draft in New York and boo McNabb’s selection.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre (4) passes under pressure from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Mike Mamula, as Packers offensive tackle John Michels looks on in second quarter action in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 7, 1997. The Eagles won 10-9. (AP Photo/Chris Gardner)
There are performances that turn heads and boost stock at the NFL combine every season, and one of the first and most notable of those ended up as an Eagles draft pick. Mamula was a marvel at the combine in Indianapolis, and he shot up draft boards, before the Eagles snagged him at No. 7. The output didn’t match the draft pick, though, as Mamula finished with 31.5 sacks and 156 tackles for loss in 77 games. He played only five years in the league and is regarded by some as a cautionary tale.