Eagles need to leave underachieving draft pick behind


With the Eagles trying to figure out a messy roster situation, it maybe time to cut ties with underachieving receiver Reggie Brown

“When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong”.  A simple line said by Baby’s Dad in the pop movie Dirty Dancing, that could become some sound advice for the Eagles when evaluating an underachieving highly drafted player.  A good way for Eagles to alleviate their current roster mess due to their musical chairs act at the quarterback position, it is time for Birds to say good-bye to former 2005 second round pick WR Reggie Brown – 2008 numbers: 18 receptions for 252 yards and 1 TD in 10 games.  The former Eagles leading receiver in 2005 was inactive for the season opener against the Panthers and it does not look like he is going to contribute to the team this season or that the Birds will be able to work out a trade for him.

We all know that Eagles head coach and de facto GM Andy Reid is signed through 2010, has over 100 wins in 10 years with the Eagles and is not going anywhere anytime soon.  But as successful as Reid has been as a coach for the past 10+ years in Philadelphia (98-62-1 regular season record, 10-7 record in the playoffs, 6 NFC East Divisional titles, 5 NFC Championship Games and 1 Super Bowl), the keeping of Brown clearly shows a chink in the Eagles top man’s armor.  Reid clearly will not admit when a player that the Eagles have highly drafted and invested time/money in cannot play.

I know with former second round picks and drafted player question marks QB Kevin Kolb and OT Winston Justice both possibly starting against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, that some would say Reid rightfully so gave the two the time they needed to develop after being in the background of the Eagles’ roster the last couple years.  But there are numerous other examples during the Reid era of high round draft picks, who spent time on the Eagles’ roster year after year – mostly on the inactive list and then were finally “quietly” jettisoned — with the usual team statement of “what great job the guy did” — once the light bulb went on that the underachiever would never live up to draft day expectations. Names like WR Freddie Mitchell (1st Rd), DE Jerome McDougal (1st Rd), LB Matt McCoy (2nd Rd), LB Barry Gardner (2nd Rd),  WR Billy McMullen (3rd Rd), Matt Ware (3rd Rd), RB Tony Hunt (3rd Rd), WR Na Brown (4th Rd), and Scott Peters (4th Rd) come to mind.  Most of the players listed were out of football as quickly as the Eagles gave up on them, showing how the rest of the NFL felt about them too. 

Reid is not alone as an NFL evaluator who has had a “soft spot” for a highly drafted player and waited around for unfulfilled expectations.  The poor Detroit Lions waited two years and through 15 horrendous starts before finally sending underachieving offensive tackle Aaron Gibson (1999 first round pick, 27th overall) packing and the San Francisco 49ers still have not given up on 2005 first overall pick quarterback Alex Smith.  The NFL Draft is truly an inexact science, where about half of the players drafted each year are usually gone within three years.  But some NFL franchises are willing to take a hard look in the mirror and pull the plug on non-contributors, even if they are a highly drafted player – See the Steelers cutting underachieving WR Willie Reid (former 3rd round pick).  The New England Patriots according to an April 2009 Forbes.com article  have cut approximately half of their draft picks over the past three years, while boasting a 39-9 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2007.

With only 53 players allowed on NFL rosters and a game day active roster of 46 players, spots on NFL teams are too valuable waiting for an underachieving highly drafted player to finally develop. Reid once cut linebacker Quinton Caver (2nd Rd – 2001) after only 16 non-descript games, so now is the time for the Eagles to admit receiver Reggie Brown’s days in Philadelphia are over and move-on.  There are five other receivers on the team’s active roster (DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Brandon Gibson, Jason Avant, and Jeremy Maclin) plus Danny Amendola is on the team’s practice squad. 


Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award -winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


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