Friday Mount Rushmore: Eagles Draft Picks Coming Off Debilitating Injuries

Let’s get it back to the Eagles.

We didn’t do a Friday Mount Rushmore column last week because we were going DeVonta Smith crazy and breaking down the first night of the NFL Draft.

People loved that pick, almost unanimously, but there were mixed results with the round two selection of Landon Dickerson, who tore both ACLs in college and had an ankle injury also.

Didn’t they learn their lesson? How do you draft another injured guy!

That was a sampling of the criticism from Eagles fans.

So in honor of the selection, here’s our Mount Rushmore of Eagles draft picks coming off debilitating injuries.


Sidney Jones

Jones was first round talent who dropped to the second round because of an Achilles tear he suffered at his Pro Day.

The Eagles, who took Derek Barnett in the first round of the 2017 draft, saw this as a “value pick” and used their second selection on Jones, taking him at 43 overall. In hindsight, you go back to that draft and see Joe Mixon and Juju Smith-Schuster coming off the board shortly after.

Jones did get healthy, but never seemed like the prospect he was at Washington. He played 22 games for the Eagles but only started eight, logging 10 PBUs in the process. He was waived last September, went to Jacksonville, and played nine games before landing on injured reserve with another Achilles injury.


Keith Byars

Byars had a wonderful pro career, but younger fans might not remember that he suffered a foot injury in college, which caused him to lose out on most of his Senior year at Ohio State University.

As a result, Buddy Ryan publicly labeled Byars a “medical reject,” which Dave Spadaro explained in a 2016 retrospective on the Eagles’ website:

Keith Byars was Ryan’s first draft pick, in 1986, and the experience was typical of Ryan’s approach with the media and his way of jabbing the fans’ heartstrings. Just days before selecting Byars with the 10th-overall selection, Ryan called Byars, the star running back from Ohio State, a “medical reject.” It was Ryan’s way, of course, of steering attention away from his true intentions of taking Byars and building him up from there.

Buddy Ryan, you sly dog!

Byars went on to play 189 NFL games. He was a 1993 Pro Bowler and scored 54 touchdowns while making it as far as Super Bowl 31, where he caught a touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe.


Jack Ikegwuono

From The Associated Press, 13 years ago:

With a knee injury that’s likely to keep him off the field for a year and a nagging legal issue, former Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu knew there was a chance he wouldn’t get drafted at all.

But talent trumped trouble in the end, and the Philadelphia Eagles took Ikegwuonu near the end of Sunday’s fourth round. On a conference call with reporters who cover the Eagles, Ikegwuonu said he tried to stay positive throughout what has been a difficult offseason.

Ikegwuono was a fourth round pick in the 2008 draft. He played one game for the Eagles, was waived in November of 2009, and is now serving a nine-and-a-half year prison sentence for armed robbery.


Landon Dickerson

What else is there to be said?

Two ACL tears, an ankle injury, and multiple seasons ended due to injury.

The insane thing is that Dickerson still played more than 35 college games at Florida and Alabama, and logged more than 20 for the tide. If anything, maybe Birds fans can rest assured knowing that he recovered from an ACL tear once before, so maybe he can do it again.

honorable mention: Josh Sweat

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