April 28, 2011
When discussion turns to the Eagles worst draft picks, there are a lot to choose from. Jon Peters was a bust, as was Leroy Keyes. Bernard Williams had a lot of talent, but loved getting high more than he loved playing football. A lot of people throw Jon Harris into the mix, and Kevin Allen was a disaster. Mike Mamula seems to make every list, although he twice had 8 sacks in a season and probably should have been used as a linebacker instead of a DE. But none of these players was selected ahead of 5 future NFL Hall of Famers (though Keyes was picked ahead of 4 of them.)
Michael Haddix was a star running back at Mississippi State. The Eagles, who were coming off a 3-6 strike shortened season, saw that in the next few years star running back Wilbert Montgomery was going to need to be replaced. So when the #8 pick came to them, they decided to spend it on Haddix. It was a terrible pick, not only because Haddix didn’t live up to expectations, but because they passed on 4 future Hall of Famers who would be drafted in the first round and 5 overall. The Oilers had the pick after the Eagles, and selected future Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, perhaps the greatest offensive lineman in NFL history. A few picks later, the Bills decided to select Jim Kelly. The round ended with the two teams who had met in that January’s Super Bowl, the Dolphins and the Redskins, selecting Dan Marino and Darrell Green. Again, two of the best to ever play their positions (Future Hall of Famer Richard Dent was selected in the 8th Round). When you add in the men selected before Haddix, such as Elway and Dickerson, this may have been the richest First Round in NFL history. And the Eagles got squat for it.
Haddix ran for 76 yards on 24 carries in his first game that September. It would prove to be the greatest game he ever played. By Week 4, he had scored two TDs, but his carries per game were quickly dropping. He would score one more touchdown for the rest of his career. He stayed on the team for 6 years however, eventually moving to fullback. His best season would come in 1986, when he ran for 276 yards (and 0 TDs). In his 6 years in Philly, he would rush for 1189 yards. The running back selected a few picks before him, Eric Dickerson, would rush for that many yards in the first 10 games of his career. Was he the worst pick ever? Hard to say. Leroy Keyes was pretty bad, was picked directly before the Steelers selected Mean Joe Greene, and had an even shorter career. But Haddix was picked ahead of one of the greatest linemen of all-time, greatest QBs of all time, and greatest CBs of all time.
That said, 1983 wasn’t a total loss for the Birds. They got Wes Hopkins in the 2nd round. Who do you think was the worst Eagles pick of all time?