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In Roob's Observations: How history tells us what Howie Roseman is likely planning for 1st round

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How Howie Roseman’s draft history gives us an indication what he’s planning Thursday, Cam Jurgens’ thoughts on following one of the greatest centers in history and remembering the day the Eagles held a Hall of Fame running back to his worst game ever.

Here’s our draft-week edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations!

1. What are the odds the Eagles actually stay at 22? Consider this: Howie Roseman has drafted 13 players in the first round and only three of them were taken with a pick that originated with the Eagles. He also traded out of the first round once. So 77 percent of his 1st-round picks have been made with a pick acquired from another team. He traded up from 24 to 13 in 2010 to take Brandon Graham, moved from 15 to 12 in 2012 to select Fletcher Cox, traded down four spots in 2014 to select Marcus Smith at 26, took Carson Wentz 2ndoverall after going from 13 to 8 in a trade with the Dolphins and then from 8 to 2 in a trade with the Browns. He selected Derek Barnett 14 with a pick acquired from the Vikings in the Sam Bradford trade, traded out of the first round in 2018, moved down three spots in 2019 for Andre Dillard, traded up and then down in 2021 for DeVonta Smith, moved up a couple spots for Jordan Davis in 2022 and moved up one spot for Jalen Carter last year. The only players he’s taken with an original Eagles pick are Fireman Danny at 23 in 2011, Lane Johnson at 4 in 2013 and Jalen Reagor 21st in 2020 (Nelson Agholor in 2015 was also an original Eagles pick, but that was Chip Kelly’s draft). Roseman’s track record in the 20s is awful – Reagor at 21, Dillard at 22, Fireman Danny at 23 and Smith at 26. He should trade out of the 20s every year. You know he’s going to try to move up Thursday. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t pull it off. 

2. Going deeper with Eagles picks in the 20s, Nelly had his moments, especially in the Super Bowl, but the last consistently productive starter the Eagles drafted with a pick in the 20s was Lito Sheppard in 2002. And before that you have Freddie Mitchell at 25 in 2001 and Jon Harris at 25 in 1997. Jermane Mayberry, the 25th pick in 1996, became a Pro Bowl guard when tackle didn’t work out, but before him you have Leonard Renfro at No. 24 in 1993. Of their 10 picks in the 20s over the last 30 years, the only selections that started more than 25 games in an Eagles uniform are Mayberry, Sheppard and Agholor. The Eagles really need to stay away from that 20-to-29 range.

3. Jordan Mailata is only 26 but already has the 5th-most starts in Eagles history by a 7th-round draft pick with 57. He trails only Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael (160), Carl Hairston (106), Charlie Johnson (73) and Irv Cross (72).

4. I like everything Cam Jurgens had to say the other day about replacing Jason Kelce at center. He said he can’t go out there and be Jason Kelce, but he can be the best version of Cam Jurgens he can possibly be and he’s going to work as hard as possible to make that happen. He talked about the value of learning from Kelce the last two years and how he doesn’t care if he’s playing center or guard, as long as he’s helping the team win. I think you need a certain mentality to take over for a Hall of Famer. We’ve seen what happens when somebody is put in that position and just isn’t wired for it. It can get ugly trying to live up to those expectations. It can get in your head. You try to do too much. You try to be something you’re not. That never works. I don’t worry about any of that with Jurgens. He’s just a level-headed kid who doesn’t get too high or too low, he just grinds. You can’t ask anything more of him than that.

5. Who remembers the day the Eagles held one of the greatest running backs in NFL history to 14.8 inches per carry? It was Eagles-Chargers at the Linc in 2005, and it was a significant day in one way because it was T.O,’s final home game as an Eagle. But it was also significant because LaDainian Tomlinson had 17 carries for seven yards in the Eagles’ 20-17 win. That wasn’t a particularly good Eagles run defense – they ranked 21st in the league in 2005. But they shut down L.T. like nobody else ever did. Of his 17 carries, 14 went for one yard or less. The crazy thing is he finished “strong” (relatively). In the first quarter, Tomlinson ran four times for minus-13 yards. In the first half, he was 6-for-minus-5. Going into the fourth quarter, he was 9-for-minus-8. He actually ran for 25 yards on eight carries in the fourth quarter just to get to 0.4 yards per carry. He had more yards in the game’s final four minutes (eight) than in the entire game. L.T. had 154 career games with at least 10 carries and that was the only one that he averaged less than 1.5 yards per carry … and he averaged less than a third of that. In the last 50 years, he’s one of only four backs to average 0.4 yards per carry or worse in a game with at least 15 carries. The others are Emmitt Smith in 1998 in New Orleans, Karim Abdul-Jabbar two weeks later vs. the Broncos and Saquon Barkley in 2020 against the Steelers. That 0.4 rushing average isn’t the lowest ever against the Eagles. In 1943, Bill Paschal of the Giants ran 15 times for five yards for 0.3 yards per carry in a 28-14 Steagles win at Shibe Park. That 0.4 average is 2nd-lowest ever by a Hall of Famer in a game with at least 15 carries. Smith was 15-for-6 in that 1998 game against the Saints, which is exactly 0.40 yards per carry. L.T.’s performance against the Eagles comes out to 0.41 per carry.

6A. There’s only one player the Eagles have drafted in the first four rounds in the last 35 years who never played in an NFL game. That’s running back Donnel Pumphrey, their 4th-round pick in 2017. Pumphrey, who rushed for an NCAA-record 6,405 yards with a 6.0 average, 62 touchdowns and 99 receptions at San Diego State, spent most of his rookie year on IR with a torn hamstring suffered in practice and was released after training camp in 2018. He spent some time in 2018 on the Lions’ practice squad, returned to the Eagles’ practice squad later in 2018 and was in camp again in 2019, only to be released in final cuts. He spent some time in the XFL with the D.C. Defenders before the league folded. Pumph is currently serving as Sacramento State’s running backs coach. 

6B. The last player the Eagles drafted in the first three rounds who never played an NFL snap is 1988 3rd-round pick Matt Patchan, an offensive lineman from Miami. The last 2nd-round pick to never play was 1972 2nd-round pick Dan Yochum, an offensive lineman from Syracuse. 

6C. The last Eagles 1st-round pick who never played in the NFL? That’s Johnny Bright, the fifth pick in 1952 out of Drake. Bright, who had finished 5th in Heisman balloting in 1951, is the only Drake player to have his number (43) retired. Bright would have been the first African-American player in Eagles history but opted instead to sign with the CFL Calgary Stampeders. He retired in 1964 as the leading rusher in CFL history with 10,909 yards (since surpassed by Mike Pringle and George Reed). He was enshrined in the CFL Hall of Fame in 1970. Bright was only 53 when he passed away in 1983 in Edmonton.

6D. In 1955, the Eagles drafted 30 players and only three of them ever played a snap in the NFL. And one of them – Andy Nacrelli from Chester and Fordham – only played in two games.

7. In his first two NFL seasons, 2020 and 2021, Quez Watkins had the 15th-highest yards-per-catch in the NFL out of 116 wide receivers who caught at least 40 passes at 15.1. The last two years, he averaged 10.3 yards per catch, which ranked 92nd out of 113 receivers with 40 catches. Watkins is now with the Steelers.

8. The 1960 NFL Championship Game was the only playoff game ever played at Franklin Field. And it was the Eagles’ only postseason game between 1950 and 1977.

9. There was a security guard at the Vet named Mr. Braxton who was stationed at the players entrance on the southeast side of the stadium for years. After Buddy Ryan was fired by the Eagles following the 1990 season and before he was hired in 1993 by Jack Pardee as Oilers defensive coordinator, he got a tryout on ESPN as a game-day studio analyst. At one point when the 1991 Eagles were buried in a four-game losing streak – they scored just 26 total points with Brad Goebel, Pat Ryan and Jim McMahon at quarterback in losses to Washington, Tampa, New Orleans and San Francisco – Buddy was asked about the Eagles’ lack of offense, and he responded, “Well, hell, I think Mr. Braxton is calling the plays over there.” It was hilarious. If you knew who Mr. Braxton was. Which was maybe 50 people in the world.

10. If Carson Wentz gets into a game with the Chiefs, he’ll be the first Eagles 1st-round pick ever to play for five teams. Wentz is one of seven former Eagles 1st-round picks who’s played with four teams: Frank Tripucka, John Reaves, Charle Young, Keith Byars, Lito Sheppard and Nelson Agholor are the others.

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