Two Eagles were drafted in this year’s NFL Draft and another two signed with teams afterwards. Based on their draft positions, we took a quick look at some other Eagles who were drafted at comparable spots and see how their careers have turned or are currently going. Of course this has no bearing on the 2021 class’s career outlook.
Hunter Long (3rd Round, 15th pick, 81st overall - Miami Dolphins)
A mid-third round pick, we don’t need to go too far back to see other Eagles in a similar situation. From 2016-2019, BC had a defensive back selected in the third round each year. Will Harris most recently was drafted also 81st overall to the Detroit Lions. The year prior, the Denver Broncos selected Isaac Yiadom at the tail end of the third round, and the same happened to John Johnson and Justin Simmons going back two more years to the Rams and Broncos, respectively.
For the most part, the group has had pretty great success in the league. Simmons and Johnson have both proved absolute steals, the pair signing lucrative contracts this past offseason with the Broncos and Browns, respectively. Yiadom played well and signed an extension with the Broncos, but was traded to the Giants this past season. Harris had a average start, but really showed great improvement last year. With a new regime starting in Detroit, Harris will be look to add to the handful of games he started and become more of a fixture on the field.
Just for fun, we can call out two other Eagles selected right around where Long was. Stalin Colinet was selected 78th in the 1997 draft by the Vikings. The defensive end was a BC team captain and ranks 3rd all-time in tackles for loss at BC. He played about six years in the league with a handful of teams. With the 80th pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 39ers selected one Bill Romanowski. The four time Super Bowl champion and two time pro bowler was a star linebacker for the 49ers, Broncos, Raiders, and Eagles. He spent 16 years in the league primarily and most notably with the first two, although his career has been tainted with allegations of racism and numerous physical altercations.
Isaiah McDuffie (6th Round, 36th pick, 220th overall - Green Bay Packers)
The later rounds naturally have not had as many success stories, but there are a few key bright spots. This wasn’t the the sixth round, but Tommy Sweeney was selected by the Bills 228th overall in 2019. Sweeney slowly but surely started to make an impact. He was out with COVID and then injury this past season, but should be ready for the coming season to continue with his progress. Players including Andy Gallik, Ian Silberman, and Kamrin Moore were drafted in the sixth round most recently but have had a tougher time making it in the league.
There are two major sixth round success stories for the Eagles however. In 2003, the Browns picked nose tackle Antonio Garay with the 22nd pick of the sixth round. He would go on to play for the Bears, Chargers, and Jets over the course of about a ten year career. Garay made a name for himself off the field with some unique hairstyles and a Hello Kitty-themed smart car. Boston College quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was selected in the sixth round by the Packers (just like McDuffie) in the 1998 Draft. He would go on to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl appearance and play for the Titans and Colts. He retired in 2015 with over 36,000 yards passing and holding multiple records with the Seahawks. He quickly became an on-air presence serving as an analyst for ESPN.
Among the undrafted free agents to play in the NFL, several Eagles have also seen success. John Wetzel played in the league from 2014-2020. Tom Waddle had a nice six year career with the Bears in the early 90s and has made a big career in media. Joe Nash built a nearly 15 year career for himself all with Seattle after going undrafted in 1982. More recently, Mark Herzlich and Jo-Lonn Dunbar both went undrafted but still found good homes and built solid careers.