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Eagles Aiming For Top 10 Draft Hit

The Eagles want this to be a one and done: No more top 10 draft picks. The goal is to pick No. 32 in the first round of the draft, not No. 8. But since they are there, thanks to a trade with Miami, the Eagles intend to make the most of it on April 28.

"We're excited about picking eighth and the opportunities that will be at the eighth pick," Howie Roseman said on Monday during his pre-draft press question-and-answer session with the Philadelphia media. "It's rare for us to be in the top 10 and so we have an opportunity to be there and so whoever we get should be a difference-maker at whatever position we're talking about."

You can talk all you want about the who's and the what's and the options to trade up or trade down, although Roseman said it would take a "compelling" deal to make the Eagles move out of the top 10, but the reality is that the Eagles are at No. 8 now in a draft that has, Roseman has said a couple of times, 10 really good players. Difference-makers, even. How much of a difference there is between No. 10 and No. 80 is in this draft is a point of conversation in each team's draft room, but the consensus is that there is a drop after those first 10 or so players and then the quality of the draft has some depth in the middle rounds.

It's a nine-pick, seven-round draft for the Eagles and that is subject to trades and moves to move that number "nine" up or down. The focus for the fans and the media at this moment is the first round, the top 10, a place that has been kind and, at times over the years, pretty darn unkind to the Eagles. The risks are high and the rewards are mighty.

Who are the Eagles going to take? They don't know right now. They truly don't know. The Eagles are going to spend the next 10 days exchanging mock draft ideas and scenarios so that they are prepared for absolutely everything thrown at them beginning on April 28.

In the meantime, let's consider the Top 10 and how the Eagles have fared there in the last 25 years or so (the brilliant selection of back Steve Van Buren at No. 5 overall in 1944 does not make this conversation) ...

  • In 1987, head coach Buddy Ryan used the ninth pick in the draft to select the renegade defensive tackle, Jerome Brown, from the University of Miami. Brown was a superior talent who became a force for the Eagles in his brief, 76-game NFL career before passing away in an automobile accident. Was Brown a great draft pick? It's hard to say "yes" when Pittsburgh selected future Hall of Famer Rod Woodson with the 10th pick, but only offensive tackle Bruce Armstrong (six Pro Bowls with New England, picked 23rd) did much of the remaining first-round picks taken after Brown. And, certainly, Brown represented a huge upgrade from some previous Top 10 Eagles picks in years prior -- running back Michael Haddix (8) in 1983, wide receiver Kenny Jackson (4) in 1984, offensive tackle Kevin Allen (9) in 1985 and running back Keith Byars (10) in 1984.
  • In 1991, the Eagles made a disastrous pick, selecting Tennessee offensive tackle Antone Davis with the ninth overall selection. Terrible move. Davis played in 78 games with the Eagles from 1991-95. The Eagles moved from No. 19 in the first round to get to No. 9, dealing their first-round draft picks in 1991 and 1992 to take Davis. It gets worse: the Green Bay Packers drafted cornerback Vinnie Clark in '91 and he played two seasons in Green Bay, two in Atlanta, one in New Orleans and two in Jacksonville as a part-time starter. The 1992 first-round draft pick was sent to Atlanta, part of a deal that sent quarterback Brett Favre to the Packers. Ugh. 
  • In 1995, new head coach Ray Rhodes fell in love with Boston College defensive end Mike Mamula and moved up in the first round, vaulting from 12th to seventh in a trade with Tampa Bay. Mamula started his first three seasons, played hard football and was productive. He ended his Eagles career with 31.5 quarterback sacks. The players taken directly after him, wide receiver Joey Galloway, tight end Kyle Brady, wide receiver J.J. Stokes and defensive end Derrick Alexander, had mixed results in their NFL careers (Galloway caught 701 passes for 10,950 yards and 77 touchdowns in his 16 seasons and Brady enjoyed a 13-year career and had 343 receptions playing for three teams while Stokes was an average receiver and Alexander played five years in the league). But the Eagles gave up two second-round picks, in addition to the 12th overall selection, and Tampa Bay used the 12th pick to tackle defensive tackle Warren Sapp and traded one of those two second-round picks to move back into the first round and take linebacker Derrick Brooks. Both players, of course, were Hall of Fame cornerstone pieces for Tampa Bay's Super Bowl defense. Mamula was in an impossible situation. No way he could ever live up to the hype.
  • In 1999, new head coach Andy Reid used the second overall pick to take Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb in a draft labeled as one of the all-time best for quarterback prospects. As it turned out, McNabb was the best of the bunch. He helped the Eagles reached five NFC Championship Games and Super Bowl XXXIX and has his number retired at Lincoln Financial Field.
  • In 2000, Reid used the sixth pick in the draft on Florida State defensive tackle Corey Simon. It turned out to be a solid pick in a first round filled with busts. Simon started all but two games in the five seasons he played with the Eagles and used his strength and quickness to record 32 quarterback sacks. Then he flamed out, strangely. In those five seasons, Simon was a relentless player and a big part of the team's defensive success.
  • In 2013, the Eagles went offensive line in new head coach Chip Kelly's first draft and selected Oklahoma's Lane Johnson fourth overall. Johnson is a huge piece for the Eagles up front and is a player the team is counting on to be a standout for years to come at right tackle and then, potentially when Jason Peters is finished playing, at the left tackle position. That's a trip down Top 10 Lane. It's one the Eagles don't want to repeat any time soon, so they are looking to make the most of it on April 28. They want an impact player. They want a player who is going to make a difference. With the eighth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles select ...
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