The Philadelphia Eagles have a long history of producing homegrown talent. A franchise that began in 1933 naturally has a large talent pool to choose from. Their hits and missed in the NFL Draft steer the conversation almost a century after their inaugural season.

Homegrown Eagles

The Eagles have selected some of the most impactful players in their history in the early rounds. Reggie White and Lane Johnson both came off the board with fourth-overall picks.

However, the top picks aren’t always the best. The Eagles selected Jason Kelce and Trent Cole out of the University of Cincinnati in the later rounds to grow into all-time greats.

Two of the best quarterbacks in franchise history developed within the organization and spent their prime years in Philadelphia. Does Donovan McNabb deserve to be under center for the All-Homegrown team, or does Randall Cunningham get the nod?

Most of the best running backs in Eagles history came through the NFL Draft. LeSean McCoy broke the franchise’s all-time rushing record in Midnight Green.

Wilbert Montgomery scored the most exhilarating touchdown Veterans Stadium ever saw. Steve Van Buren was the trailblazer before either of them came along.

Can any of them outdo Brian Westbrook for a starter’s position though?

Homegrown Snubs

What about famous snubs? DeSean Jackson didn’t make the cut. A new-age tight end beat out Pete Pihos, and Corey Simon didn’t land a spot despite an enormous role in the Andy Reid era.

Brandon Graham only narrowly made the roster despite the biggest play of Super Bowl LII. Competition was tough.

Who are your favorite homegrown Eagles? Which ones deserved to make the list?

97.5 The Fanatic put together lists of the best homegrown players for each of the four major professional sports teams in Philadelphia.


  • Offense

  • Quarterback: Donovan McNabb

    Randall Cunningham might have the most highlight-reel plays, but Donovan McNabb is the most accomplished quarterback in Eagles history. He was the centerpiece of the memorable period of sustained success and Super Bowl contention under Andy Reid in the early 2000s.

    Athletes are not above criticism, and McNabb is far from an exception. However, it’s safe to say the Eagles nailed the second-overall pick in 1999, especially considering the underwhelming crop of quarterbacks in his draft class.

    Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Running Back: Brian Westbrook

    The Eagles executed one of the best drafts in their franchise history in 2002. They landed three quality defensive backs in the first two rounds, but their best selection came in the third round.

    Brian Westbrook silenced the thought that he was only a third down back or a screen pass specialist. He developed into a feature back and the most consistent offensive weapon of the Andy Reid era.

    It’s tough to find anyone in Philadelphia who doesn’t think highly of Westbrook. Wilbert Montgomery and LeSean McCoy deserve their accolades. However, they didn’t make the same contributions as number 36.

    Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Fullback: Thomas Tapeh

    The fullback might’ve faded from the modern NFL offense, but the position was a guarantee in past eras. The Eagles rotated a few notable free agent fullbacks like Leonard Weaver and Jon Ritchie, but they also drafted and developed Thomas Tapeh.

    The fifth-rounder in 2004 spent three seasons with the Eagles and made 17 starts in 41 games.

    Thomas Tapeh, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Wide Receiver: Harold Carmichael

    Hall of Fame wide receiver Harold Carmichael stood at 6-foot-7 with the ability to reach over helpless defensive backs. The Eagles landed an absolute steal in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft.

    He spent 13 seasons in Philadelphia and two games with the Dallas Cowboys. Carmichael famously retired because he couldn’t handle wearing a star on his helmet after so many years with the Eagles.

    Harold Carmichael, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Wide Receiver: Mike Quick

    The fight between Mike Quick and DeSean Jackson for the second wide receiver spot might’ve been the tightest on the list of homegrown Eagles.

    Quick had more touchdowns. Jackson had more yards. Quick had more receptions. Jackson had more playoff games.

    Five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances for Quick from 1983-1987 became the determining factor. DeSean Jackson had more memorable highlights, but he spent some of the best years of his career elsewhere and limited his own ceiling with cases of mismanaging his body.

    MIke Quick, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Tight End: Zach Ertz

    Pete Pihos certainly had a good enough career to land on the list of homegrown Eagles. However, Zach Ertz caught the game-winning touchdown in the franchise’s only Super Bowl. His fourth-down catch earlier in Super Bowl LII might have actually been a more impactful play too.

    The Eagles drafted Ertz in the second round in 2013 after taking Lane Johnson in the first. He recovered from a questionable mistake in 2016 to earn the respect and admiration of Philadelphia fans forever.

    Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Left Tackle: Tra Thomas

    Tra Thomas anchored an offensive line that protected Donovan McNabb throughout one of the best eras in Eagles history. He made 165 starts in 11 seasons and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

    He made it worthwhile for the Eagles to take the big left tackle out of Florida St. with the 11th-overall pick in 1998. He also did a heck of a job on 97.5 The Fanatic mornings after his playing career.

    Tra Thomas, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Left Guard: Todd Herremans

    The Eagles spent a fourth-rounder in 2005 on a versatile offensive lineman from Saginaw Valley St. A lesser-known school didn’t stop Todd Herremans from making a name for himself.

    He quickly pushed the Eagles to find a spot for him on their offensive line despite his lack of draft pedigree. He stuck around for excellent longevity with 124 starts over 10 seasons at multiple positions.

    Todd Herremans, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Center: Jason Kelce

    Jason Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Right Guard: Jermane Mayberry

    Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas will always get most of the credit as the pillars of the offensive line in the early 2000s. However, Jermane Mayberry made plenty of contributions himself.

    The Eagles spent the 26th-overall pick on a guard who gave them 112 games and 96 starts in nine seasons. Mayberry made his only career Pro Bowl in 2002.

    Jermane Mayberry, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Right Tackle: Lane Johnson

    Three offensive tackles came off the board in the first four picks of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Eagles drafted Johnson behind Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel but came away with exponentially more value.

    Their incredible record with him in the lineup and mediocre record without him is no coincidence. Johnson is one of the toughest Eagles ever and arguably the best offensive lineman in franchise history.

    Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Defense

  • Defensive End: Reggie White

    The Minister of Defense is arguably the greatest player ever to wear an Eagles uniform. Reggie White set the franchise record for sacks with 124 on his way to seven Pro Bowls in eight seasons in Philadelphia. He certainly made the fourth-overall pick in the 1984 Supplemental Draft worth it.

    White ranks high on any list of the best defensive players in NFL history. He died tragically at age 43 in 2004.

  • Defensive Tackle: Fletcher Cox

    Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham talked enough to control any spotlight. However, Fletcher Cox was the best player on the best team in franchise history.

    The 2017 Eagles swallowed opponents who dared to try to run the ball. Fletcher Cox anchored the defensive front just like he did for most of his 12 NFL seasons, all spent in Midnight Green.

    Cox made six Pro Bowls, and he’ll someday get his reward in Canton, Ohio.

    Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Defensive Tackle: Jerome Brown

    Reggie White and Jerome Brown might’ve formed the most fearsome pair of pass rushers in NFL history if tragedy didn’t cut Brown’s career short in 1992.

    The Eagles drafted Brown with the ninth-overall pick in 1987. His raw talent helped him to two All-Pros in his final two seasons before his death at age 27.

    The Gang Green defense still holds a special allure in the hearts of Eagles fans.

    Jerome Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Defensive End: Brandon Graham

    How do you choose between Trent Cole and Brandon Graham? Both edge rushers have landed toward the top of the franchise’s all-time sack leaders after prolonged careers in Philadelphia.

    Cole edged the Super Bowl LII hero in sacks and earned two Pro Bowl selections. However, Graham was a heart and soul player for the Eagles in their only Super Bowl season and another appearance five years later.

    Leaving either one of them off the list seemed unfair, but (former) noted draft bust Brandon Graham has one of the most admirable stories in Philadelphia sports history.

    Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Left Outside Linebacker: Seth Joyner

    Seth Joyner spent eight of his 13 NFL seasons in Philadelphia. He earned two of his three Pro Bowl nods in the early 1990s on the memorably feared defense under Bud Carson. 

    Only Brian Dawkins has ever forced more fumbles for the Eagles than Joyner. The former eighth-rounder (yes, there used to be more rounds) has the most sacks among linebackers in franchise history.

    Seth Joyner, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Middle Linebacker: Jeremiah Trotter

    The Eagles regretted letting Jeremiah Trotter walk away when the 2002 and 2003 teams struggled with underwhelming linebacker play. They admitted it when they reunited with him in 2004.

    Trotter developed into a star during his first four NFL seasons with the Eagles. He picked up where he left off with a Pro Bowl season in only nine starts for the NFC Champions in 2004.

    The Axe Man never failed to fire up the Philadelphia crowd with his signature celebration.

    Jeremiah Trotter, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Right Outside Linebacker: Chuck Bednarik

    Bednarik probably could’ve landed on the list twice. He played center and linebacker in 14 seasons with the Eagles.

    Concrete Charlie probably wouldn’t like the thought of only playing one side of the ball for the homegrown Eagles, but his presence as one of the toughest players in history will last forever. Eagles fans hope he’s enjoying a heavenly cigar and a heavenly cigarette.

  • Cornerback: Lito Sheppard

    Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor formed one of the NFL’s best cornerback duos of the early 2000s, but their time was running thin by 2002.

    The Eagles drafted Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown to back up their previous duo. Both became valuable starters, but Sheppard separated himself with 18 interceptions and two Pro Bowl nods.

    He famously picked off Drew Bledsoe and went the other way for 102 yards to seal the win against the Dallas Cowboys for revenge against Terrell Owens in his first game in Philadelphia with the arch-enemy.

    Lito Sheppard, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Cornerback: Eric Allen

    The Eagles selected Eric Allen with the 30th-overall pick in 1988. He became a key part of the feared Eagles defense of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

    Allen’s name comes up annually as a notable Hall of Fame snub. However, he gets the honor of a starting job on the roster of homegrown Eagles.

    Eric Allen, Homegrown Eagles

  • Safety: Brian Dawkins

    Philadelphia Eagles fans might never see another player with the stunning passion and heartfelt emotion of Brian Dawkins. Weapon X was one of the most feared hitters in the NFL. He earned nine Pro Bowl nods and four All-Pro selections that don’t even begin to describe his legacy.

    His acceptance speech into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 revealed part of his life that drove his incredible passion.

    Brian Dawkins is the most beloved Eagle in history. It’s safe to say he made a second-round pick in 1996 worthwhile.

    Brian Dawkins, Philadelphia Eagles

  • Safety: Wes Hopkins

    Wes Hopkins spent all 10 of his NFL seasons with the Eagles from 1983-1993. He intercepted 30 passes, which sits just four shy of the franchise record.

    Hopkins earned a first-team All-Pro selection in 1985. He passed away at just 57 years old in 2018.

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