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    Best Philadelphia Eagles Draft Picks of All Time: From Jason Kelce to Brian Dawkins

    While the Philadelphia Eagles have made plenty of notable selections in the NFL Draft, who are the best draft picks of all time in franchise history?

    The Philadelphia Eagles are a historic NFL franchise founded in 1933. While the franchise has only won one Super Bowl, they’ve had plenty of success in the NFL Draft. And despite drafting well in recent years, some of the best draft picks in franchise history date back to as early as 1949.

    Although it’s easy to select the best players in franchise history, identifying and ranking the greatest Philadelphia draft picks includes several different factors.

    Ranking the Greatest Philadelphia Eagles Draft Picks

    Many of the greatest players in franchise history were initially drafted by the Eagles as well. Yet, it’s important to include what round the players were drafted in, the value that they provided while in Philadelphia, and their long-lasting legacies.

    For example, a former seventh-round draft pick like Jordan Mailata has developed into arguably one of the best offensive tackles in franchise history. He’s still in the early stages of his career and could eventually end up on this list in the future, although it’s too soon to include him now.

    Pete Pihos and Harold Carmichael are two of the best wide receivers in Eagles history and were steals late in the NFL Draft. Even so, it’s hard to include them in this list due to the other historic players who left more of a mark in Philadelphia.

    With all of that being said, it’s time to dive into who made the final cut for this prestigious list. Here are the top five Eagles draft picks in franchise history!

    5) Brian Dawkins (1996)

    One factor that I included while creating these rankings is a player’s impact during their tenure. If you asked fans in Philadelphia, there may not have been a single more meaningful player than Brian Dawkins.

    Making plays all over the place, Dawkins was rightfully nicknamed “Weapon X” due to his Wolverine-esque mannerisms on the field. Before arriving in 1996, Philadelphia had last won the NFC East division title in 1988.

    Although the Eagles struggled at the beginning of his career, Dawkins was a transformative player in the secondary. His aggressive, tone-setting style of play was a welcome addition, as Philadelphia’s defense would quickly turn into one of the most fearsome units in the NFL.

    Dawkins would become a star player in Philadelphia, leading the defense to five consecutive double-digit win seasons and four consecutive trips to the NFC Championship Game. Thus, it’s safe to say that Dawkins far exceeded expectations with the Eagles as a second-round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.

    4) Reggie White (1984)

    While the NFL Supplemental Draft is largely an afterthought in today’s game, it proved to be a monumental event in 1984. The 1984 NFL Supplemental Draft was loaded with talented players from the USFL, including eventual Hall of Fame players Steve Young and Gary Zimmerman.

    However, the Eagles may have landed the most notable player with the fourth-overall selection, selecting Memphis Showboats defensive end Reggie White from Tennessee.

    White totaled a whopping 23.5 sacks in 36 games for the Showboats in two seasons. Following the USFL’s collapse in 1985, he signed a four-year deal with Philadelphia, and the rest is history.

    “The Minister of Defense” was a dominant force and cemented himself as a top defensive player in the NFL. During his tenure with the Eagles, White was named an All-Pro seven times, while also winning Defensive Player of the Year in 1987.

    Ultimately, White finished his career in Philadelphia with a franchise-record 124 sacks, which certainly seems like an untouchable number.

    3) Chuck Bednarik (1949)

    When you look up Pennsylvania in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik. The man known as “Concrete Charlie” was a Hall of Fame linebacker and center for the Eagles from 1949 to 1962.

    Although Bednarik was the first overall selection in the 1949 NFL Draft, he somehow managed to exceed expectations in Philadelphia. In his first season with the Eagles, they won the NFL Championship over the Los Angeles Rams.

    MORE: Best Trades in Philadelphia Eagles History

    Bednarik was named a first-team All-Pro an unbelievable 10 times. He was also named to the Pro Bowl eight times, which only added to his highly decorated career in Philadelphia.

    Despite receiving many accolades early in his career, Bednarik’s best season might have come in 1960 when the Eagles won another NFL Championship and Bednarik made one of the most memorable plays in NFL history. Bednarik knocked out New York Giants running back Frank Gifford in what is famously known as “The Hit.”

    2) Donovan McNabb (1999)

    While Dawkins was a key component of Philadelphia’s conference championship runs in the 2000s, nobody was more important to that team than star quarterback Donovan McNabb. Before selecting McNabb No. 2 overall in 1999, Philadelphia finished the previous season with an embarrassing 3-13 record.

    Although many Eagles fans hated the selection, it would prove to be one of the smartest decisions in team history.

    McNabb would help the franchise quickly turn things around after finishing 5-11 during his rookie season. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times with Philadelphia, including five consecutive seasons from 2000 to 2004.

    McNabb quickly cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and made the Eagles consistent contenders in the NFC. While his career in Philadelphia didn’t end the way that many would have liked, there’s no doubting McNabb’s legacy. He’s the franchise leader in quarterback wins, passing yards, and touchdowns.

    1) Jason Kelce (2011)

    Finally, there is one player who stands out among the rest in many of the categories that I targeted while creating this list. Jason Kelce may not have played a “sexy” position during his career, but he checked all of the boxes to be the premier Eagles draft pick of all time.

    Did Kelce earn several accolades? Check. Did he offer great value for his pick? Check. Did he leave a lasting legacy in Philadelphia? Check.

    While Kelce’s stint almost came to an end during the middle of his career, he overcame adversity and developed into arguably the greatest center in NFL history.

    KEEP READING: Best Free Agent Signings in Philadelphia Eagles History

    The Eagles selected an undersized center in Kelce with the No. 191 selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. The expectations were likely low for the little-known center, but he eventually became the best draft pick in franchise history.

    It’s easy to remember Kelce for everything he did off the field, but there’s no denying his elite level of play on the field. He was named a first-team All-Pro six times and went to the Pro Bowl seven times. Kelce was a key cog in the Eagles winning Super Bowl 52, and his epic championship parade speech will always be remembered in Philadelphia.

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