Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles' Howie Roseman's Best and Worst Draft Picks by Round

Howie Roseman’s best and worst draft picks by round originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As we get close to the 2022 NFL Draft, let’s have some fun and look back at Howie Roseman’s draft history as the Eagles’ general manager.

Roseman became the Eagles’ GM in 2010 and has been in charge for a total of 11 drafts.

For his first three drafts, Roseman was GM while longtime head coach Andy Reid was still in town, but he still gets credit/blame for those selections. The only year we’re not including in this exercise is 2015, when Chip Kelly briefly wrestled away personnel control from Roseman.

It of course takes more than one person to make all these picks but Howie's in charge. With that in mind, let’s look at the best and worst draft picks by round during Roseman’s tenure as general manager:

First round

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Best: Fletcher Cox (2012)

The Eagles used the No. 12 pick on Cox out of Mississippi State and he turned into one of the best players in franchise history. While Cox missed out on the Pro Bowl in 2021, he was named to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 2015-2020 and was an All-Pro in 2018. Cox has 58 career sacks in 10 seasons and has had a very consistent career, playing in 156 out of a possible 161 games in the regular season. Lane Johnson was the No. 4 pick in 2013 and he has become a multiple-time Pro Bowler and one of the best right tackles in the NFL, but that’s not enough to take Cox’s spot. Maybe in several years, DeVonta Smith will have a strong case for this honor.

Honorable mentions: Lane Johnson, Brandon Graham, DeVonta Smith

Worst: Danny Watkins (2011)

The Eagles have had some bad first-round picks but this one stands alone. Even if Watkins wasn’t a complete bust, they drafted a 26-year-old guard who was more interested in fighting fires than blocking defensive linemen. Watkins was the 23rd overall pick from Baylor. The Eagles started Watkins because they drafted him at No. 23 overall but he struggled, playing in a total of 24 games with 18 starts. He briefly landed with Miami after his time in Philly but was out of the league soon after. It’s one thing to draft a player who isn’t good; it’s another to draft one who has no ambition to play. The Marcus Smith and Jalen Reagor picks were really bad too, but it’s going to be hard to top Watkins.

Honorable mentions: Jalen Reagor, Marcus Smith, Andre Dillard

Full list: DeVonta Smith (2021), Jalen Reagor (2020), Andre Dillard (2019), Derek Barnett (2017), Carson Wentz (2016), Marcus Smith (2014), Lane Johnson (2013), Fletcher Cox (2012), Danny Watkins (2011), Brandon Graham (2010)

Second round

Best: Zach Ertz (2013)

Pretty easy one at the top. The Eagles used a high second-round pick (No. 35) on Ertz out of Stanford in 2013 and he ended up catching 868 passes for 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns in his Eagles career, making three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2017-19. Ertz was traded during the 2021 season just 10 catches behind Harold Carmichael for the all-time Eagles record. He’s the only player in Eagles history to have five straight seasons with 70+ catches and 800+ yards and one of just four tight ends in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

Honorable mentions: Dallas Goedert, Mychal Kendricks

Worst: Jaiquawn Jarrett (2011)

While there was plenty of competition for this one, Jarrett takes it. The Eagles used the 54th overall pick on the hard-hitting safety from Temple. At the time, the pick was considered a stretch and boy was it ever. Jarrett played in 12 games during his rookie season but in 2012, he was released in early September. It’s rare for any team to give up on a second round pick so quickly. Jarrett ended up with the Jets for a few years and actually had some good moments but he goes down as an all-time bust in Philly. JJAW has been awful but at least he contributed last year on special teams and as a blocker.

Honorable mentions: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Sidney Jones

Full list: Landon Dickerson (2021), Jalen Hurts (2020), Miles Sanders (2019), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2019), Dallas Goedert (2018), Sidney Jones (2017), Jordan Matthews (2014), Zach Ertz (2013), Mychal Kendricks (2012), Vinny Curry (2012), Jaiquawn Jarrett (2011), Nate Allen (2010).

Third round

Best: Nick Foles (2012)

The Eagles haven’t been shy in recent seasons admitting that they should have drafted Russell Wilson in the second round in 2012 instead of trying to wait until the third. But with that pick (No. 88) they took Foles out of Arizona. Foles has really had a strange career. He was a Pro Bowler in 2013 in that 27/2 season but was eventually traded away for Sam Bradford. Those first three years might not have been enough but that first stint in Philly laid the groundwork for his eventual return in 2017. We all know what happened then.

Honorable mentions: Bennie Logan, Isaac Seumalo

Worst: Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (2010)

The Eagles have had some rough third round picks but this has to go to Washington DE Te’o-Nesheim, who played in just six games with the Eagles. Te’o-Nesheim tragically died at the age of 30 in 2017. The other candidates made strong cases too, but Marsh played in 24 games and at least Huff was a decent kick returner before his release during the 2016 season after an arrest.

Honorable mentions: Curtis Marsh, Josh Huff

Full list: Milton Williams (2021), Davion Taylor (2020), Rasul Douglas (2017), Isaac Seumalo (2016), Josh Huff (2014), Bennie Logan (2013), Nick Foles (2012), Curtis Marsh (2011), Daniel Te’o-Nesheim (2010).

Fourth round

Best: Josh Sweat (2018)

The fourth round was a really rough area for Roseman for many years but he hit on a couple good ones four years ago. We’ll give the nod to Florida State’s Sweat, who became a starting DE in 2021, made his first Pro Bowl and signed a big contract extension. After 7 1/2 sacks in 2021, Sweat is still ascending. Avonte Maddox, who was drafted in the same class, is a close second. Maddox is very versatile but really found his home as a slot corner in 2021.

Honorable mentions: Avonte Maddox, Brandon Boykin

Worst: Donnel Pumphrey (2017)

The 2017 draft was a great one for running backs … but the Eagles missed badly. They selected the 5-foot-9 Pumphrey out of San Diego State, where he was really productive. The problem was that he was a between-the-tackles runner in college and the Eagles tried to completely change his play style in the NFL and the projection never came to reality. Pump never played in an NFL game, while players drafted after him like Jamaal Williams, Marlon Mack, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson all went on to find success in the league.

Honorable mentions: Trevard Lindley, Mike Kafka, Shareef Miller

Full list: Zech McPhearson (2021), K’von Wallace (2020), Jack Driscoll (2020), Shareef Miller (2019), Avonte Maddox (2018), Josh Sweat (2018), Mack Hollins (2017), Donnel Pumphrey (2017), Jaylen Watkins (2014), Matt Barkley (2013), Brandon Boykin (2012), Casey Matthews (2011), Alex Henery (2011), Trevard Lindley (2010), Keenan Clayton (2010), Mike Kafka (2010), Clay Harbor (2010).

Fifth round

Best: Halapoulivaati Vaitai (2016)

The day after the Eagles drafted Big V out of TCU, I was on Philly Sports Talk and practiced how to pronounce his name all day. I nailed it. And then Michael Barkann asked me to spell it. Oh well. Big V ended up playing in 55 games with 20 starts in his four years with the Eagles at both tackle and guard. In 2017 after Jason Peters was lost for the season, Vaitai became the starting left tackle during the Super Bowl run and started in Super Bowl LII. After Vaitai, the next closest was Cooper. As much as he’ll be remembered for saying a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert, Cooper was a very productive fifth-round receiver and had 835 receiving yards in 2013.

Honorable mentions: Riley Cooper, Wendell Smallwood, Nathan Gerry

Worst: Clayton Thorson (2019)

While there was plenty of competition, Thorson takes the cake. The Eagles used the 167th overall pick on the QB out of Northwestern to be a developmental prospect behind Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld. The hope was that he could grow into an eventual backup. But he was awful. Thorson had a really bad showing at training camp as a rookie and failed to come close to a roster spot. After he was cut, he spent time with the Cowboys and Giants but still hasn’t played in an NFL game. He was selected by the Houston Gamblers in the USFL draft in February.

Honorable mentions: Ricky Sapp, Taylor Hart, Ed Reynolds

Full list: Kenneth Gainwell (2021), John Hightower (2020), Clayton Thorson (2019), Shelton Gibson (2017), Nathan Gerry (2017), Wendell Smallwood (2016), Taylor Hart (2014), Earl Wolff (2013), Dennis Kelly (2012), Dion Lewis (2011), Ricky Sapp (2010), Riley Cooper (2010).

Sixth round

Best: Jason Kelce (2011)

The biggest no-brainer here. The Eagles used the 191st pick in 2011 on an undersized center out of Cincinnati and he ended up becoming one of the greatest players in franchise history, a legend in the City of Philadelphia and a possible Hall of Famer. The late Howard Mudd pounded the table for Kelce and Kelce has proved him right, continuing to grow under Jeff Stoutland the last nine seasons. Kelce is a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro and has redefined the position in a lot of ways.

Honorable mentions: Quez Watkins, Shaun Bradley, Matt Pryor

Worst: Brandon Washington (2012)

Plenty to choose from once you get to the sixth round. There are a few guys who never played for the Eagles. But after Washington, a guard from Miami, didn’t make the team and played just one NFL game for the St. Louis Rams in 2013. The other sixth-rounder who never suited up for the Eagles was FB Charles Scott, but he was traded in 2010 for Jorrick Calvin, who actually had a role as a returner.

Honorable mentions: Prince Tega Wanogho, Marvin McNutt

Full list: Marlon Tuipulotu (2021), Tarron Jackson (2021), JaCoby Stevens (2021), Shaun Bradley (2020), Quez Watkins (2020), Prince Tega Wanogho (2020), Matt Pryor (2018), Elijah Qualls (2017), Blake Countess (2016), Marvin McNutt (2012), Brandon Washington (2012), Jason Kelce (2011), Brian Rolle (2011), Charles Scott (2010).

Seventh round

Best: Jordan Mailata (2018)

This distinction belonged to LSU product Jalen Mills for a while. After all, Mills in his five seasons with the Eagles played in 63 games with 49 starts as a cornerback and safety. And he was a starting cornerback in Super Bowl LII. But Mailata takes it. Even though his resume isn’t as thick as Mills’ yet, Mailata has become a true starting left tackle and deserved Pro Bowl consideration in 2021. He’s now under contract through 2025 and the Eagles hope the 25-year-old will be their starting left tackle for the next decade. The Eagles have had some surprising hits in the seventh round.

Honorable mentions: Jalen Mills, Beau Allen, Kurt Coleman

Worst: Alex McCalister (2016)

Of the Eagles’ 7th round picks just two never suited up in an NFL game: McCalister and Jeff Owens. McCalister was the slightly higher pick (No. 240) and some folks thought the Eagles got a steal with him back in 2016. The lanky 6-6 rusher from Florida had some raw ability but didn’t make the team and didn’t last long on the practice squad. After a stint with Washington, he ended up briefly in the CFL.

Honorable mentions: Joe Kruger, Jeff Owens, Greg Lloyd

Full list: Patrick Johnson (2021), Casey Toohill (2020), Jordan Mailata (2018), Jalen Mills (2016), Alex McCalister (2016), Joe alker (2016), Beau Allen (2014), Joe Kruger (2013), Jordan Poyer (2013), David King (2013), Bryce Brown (2012), Greg Lloyd (2011), Jamar Chaney (2010), Jeff Owens (2010), Kurt Coleman (2010).

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