Facebook Pixel

    Worst Philadelphia Eagles Draft Picks of All Time: From Leroy Keyes to Jalen Reagor

    The Philadelphia Eagles have made plenty of mistakes in the NFL Draft over the years. Who were the franchise's worst draft picks of all time?

    While the Philadelphia Eagles have enjoyed recent success in the NFL Draft, that certainly hasn’t always been the case. The Eagles have made plenty of questionable draft picks throughout the franchise’s history.

    There are several mistakes that the Eagles have made in the NFL Draft that are ingrained in the heads of the Philadelphia faithful. Yet other embarrassing selections have slipped through the cracks over the years.

    Ranking the Worst Draft Picks in Philadelphia Eagles History

    Although some of Philadelphia’s all-time greatest selections in the NFL Draft were in later rounds, some of the team’s biggest mistakes were in the first round. In 2003, the Eagles traded up 15 spots to select defensive end Jerome McDougle with the No. 15 overall pick.

    McDougle missed several games during his first two seasons with the Eagles. Then he was unfortunately shot in the offseason during an armed robbery of his home in 2005. McDougle missed a ton of time during his tenure with the Eagles, eventually finishing his NFL career with just 38 total tackles and three sacks.

    Although McDougle is regarded as one of the worst draft picks in team history, he still didn’t land inside the top five. Kevin Allen, Freddie Mitchell, and Kevin Kolb are among several other players that could have made a case to be included on this not-so prestigious list.

    Which players are among the five worst draft picks in franchise history?

    5) Marcus Smith II (2014)

    Chip Kelly’s tenure as head coach and pseudo-general manager in Philadelphia was full of questionable decisions. Yet one of team’s biggest mistakes may have been the team’s first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    After several of Philadelphia’s top targets were selected ahead of their pick, they decided to reach on a raw pass rusher. The Eagles selected Louisville edge rusher Marcus Smith II with the No. 26 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    FREE: Subscribe to PFN’s NFL Newsletter

    Although Smith was projected as a likely Day 2 selection, Philadelphia was clearly intrigued by his potential. Yet Smith struggled to see the field for the Eagles, mostly due to his struggles as a run defender.

    Smith played three seasons in Philadelphia, totaling just four sacks and 23 total tackles. He was eventually waived by the Eagles in 2017 and spent only two more seasons in the NFL. It was clear that Smith didn’t live up to where he was selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, and the Eagles quickly moved on and admitted their embarrassing mistake.

    4) Jalen Reagor (2020)

    After years of disappointing production at wide receiver, the Eagles knew it was time to invest in the position during the 2020 NFL Draft. While many expected Philadelphia to select Justin Jefferson with the No. 21 overall selection, the team went in a different direction.

    Philadelphia was searching for game-breaking speed at wide receiver and opted to select TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor with the team’s first-round pick. While Reagor didn’t have the collegiate production that Jefferson did, Philadelphia was seemingly betting on his upside.

    Yet that decision quickly proved to be the wrong one. As Jefferson asserted himself as one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL. Jefferson totaled 88 receptions for 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns during his rookie season. While Reagor has totaled 79 receptions for 937 yards and four touchdowns during his four-year career in the NFL.

    While many will point to this selection as the worst in franchise history, there are a few points that save it from being the worst. Although Reagor didn’t produce at a high level for the Eagles, he did contribute more than a few others on this list. Philadelphia was also able to trade Reagor for two draft picks once it decided to move on from him.

    3) Danny Watkins (2011)

    Danny Watkins is likely the first name that comes to mind for many as the worst draft pick in Eagles history. As Philadelphia searched for help along the offensive line in 2011, Watkins was supposed to be the answer and a building block in the trenches for the Eagles.

    Philadelphia selected Watkins with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. At 26 years old, Watkins was one of the oldest first-round picks in NFL history. Despite his age and raw talent, Watkins was viewed as a likely first- or second-round selection.

    Yet Watkins fell flat on his face in the NFL, as his lack of experience against top competition was apparent at the next level. Despite being taught by a legendary offensive line coach in Howard Mudd, Watkins struggled to understand Mudd’s lessons.

    Watkins allowed 42 total pressures in 18 career starts for the Eagles. His career in Philadelphia essentially ended following an embarrassing performance against the Detroit Lions, where he allowed three quarterback hits and four total pressures. Watkins was eventually released in 2013, after playing just two seasons in Philadelphia.

    2) Siran Stacy (1992)

    Because they’d traded away their 1992 first-round pick during the 1991 NFL Draft, the Eagles weren’t set to make a selection until the second round of the 1992 NFL Draft. After sitting out the first 47 selections, the Eagles were on the clock with the No. 48 overall selection.

    Philadelphia drafted Alabama running back Siran Stacy with that pick. Stacy was a star running back in college, yet several incidents off the field caused him to fall down draft boards. The Eagles thought Stacy had learned from his mistakes and would turn his life around in the NFL.

    The Eagles thought wrong, as Stacy was arrested in September 1992 for speeding and then once again in November 1992 for assaulting his girlfriend. Stacy didn’t touch the ball a single time during his rookie season. The Eagles eventually released Stacy in 1993.

    1) Leroy Keyes (1969)

    1969 was supposed to be the year the Eagles were going to lay down the foundation of a new era in Philadelphia. After years of misery, Philadelphia cleaned house and made two notable additions. Pete Retzlaff was hired as head coach and Jerry Williams was hired as general manager.

    Now that the Eagles made changes at two critical positions on the team’s staff, it was time to capitalize on great positioning in the 1969 NFL Draft. With the third overall pick, Philadelphia selected Purdue running back and cornerback Leroy Keyes.

    Keyes began his career in Philadelphia at running back, where he failed to make an impression. As he averaged just 3.0 yards per carry on 121 total rushing attempts during his rookie season. Keyes barely saw the field during his second season with the Eagles and the team eventually moved him to safety in 1971.

    KEEP READING: Worst Trades in Philadelphia Eagles History

    Despite changing positions, Keyes failed to make a lasting impression in Philadelphia. He would play just four seasons for the Eagles, while playing just one more season in the NFL after leaving Philadelphia.

    The worst part about the selection of Keyes is who he was picked ahead of. While the Eagles opted to select Keyes with the third overall pick, “Mean” Joe Greene was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the fourth overall pick.

    Philadelphia was searching for a new identity in the 1969 NFL Draft and had one of the greatest defensive players in league history fall right in its lap. Yet the Eagles dropped the ball by selecting Keyes instead, cementing him as the worst draft pick in franchise history.

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles