So one of the one thousand mock drafts that came out as the draft gets closer had an interesting take. No, it wasn’t the mock draft that our own Rob Paul and Grant Baker came up with because it wasn’t 100 percent accurate. (Link to the Armchair mock draft for the interested. I hope that Dalvin Cook goes to the Eagles as well). No, this was a different mock that had the Eagles taking Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster after he fell to the 14th pick in the draft. I doubt that a monster like that would still be there, but I doubt even more that the Eagles would actually take him. Why? Because the position that the Eagles have gone the longest without a superstar player is at linebacker.
All of that got me thinking back to when the Eagles had stars at each position except for offensive lineman. A) because Jason Peters and Lane Johnson are the obvious choices but B) because offensive lineman rarely become stars, sadly.
Quarterback: Donovan McNabb
No Eagles fans, Carson Wentz isn’t there yet for obvious reasons. The other one that people might have considered a star is Michael Vick for that small stretch of time. My argument is that he was more of a controversial figure than a star. McNabb was easily a top five QB, no matter how much he would annoy Eagles fans down the stretch in big games. Four straight NFC championship appearances mean you’re doing something right.
Running back: LeSean McCoy
Yes, Demarco Murray was supposed to be a star, but again, it is about performance as well and he was awful during his time in Philly. On the other hand, hand LeSean McCoy might be the best Eagles running back of all time and is easily the most talented. The things he could do on a football field made people consider that he might be the best in the league even though Adrian Peterson was at the height of his career.
Wide Receiver: T.O.
Yup. While DeSean Jackson was clearly an explosive threat, he was never a star. Most can debate, (correctly by the way), that Jeremy Maclin was actually the better receiver. But the last star was obviously Terrell Owens, because in his one season with the team, he took them to a level they never reached before and was entertaining as heck doing it.
Tight end: No One
I’m not just going to throw someone into this category. Brent Celek has been the best tight end the Eagles ever had, and Zach Ertz is the most talented, but neither has even been considered top ten, yet alone a star.
D line: The Minister
Trent Cole was a nice player. Fletcher Cox is also really good, but I think he just misses being a star in a league with Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt in it. So really, there is only one answer to the last true superstar the Eagles had at this position, and that’s Reggie White. I combined defensive end and defensive tackle because he played both, and the best defensive lineman in the history of the game has earned that respect.
Linebacker: Chuck Bednarik
Yes, the last time the Eagles had a star linebacker was all the way back in the 60s. It should be no surprise that this is also the last time the Eagles won a championship, in the pre-Super Bowl era. Bednarik was as tough as they come, and one could say that after White he had the greatest career of any Eagle.
Cornerback: Asante Samuel
This might be a bit of a reach, but I still believe that for a two-year span there weren’t five playmakers better than Samuel. Yes, there were Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, but Samuel was right up there with them with his game changing ability. He always got a lot of flak for guessing on passes and occasionally guessing wrong, but it allowed him to make game changing plays when he was right.
Safeties: Malcolm Jenkins/Brian Dawkins
Yup, this is a trap. Jenkins is definitely a top three player at his position right now and when the defense is playing well, it’s always because of him (he even guards Odell Beckham Jr. when he’s in the slot because all the other corners are too garbage to do it). But you can’t make something like this without giving Brian Dawkins a shout out. He was the best safety in the league when he played and could do everything you would want from a football player as well as being the team leader.
There you have it. With the Eagles approach being to select the best player available, all you can hope for is that they get a player close to this caliber. If they can, then success won’t be far behind.