The 3 tight ends the Eagles should have never drafted


Let’s face it, every franchise has those handful of picks they wish they could take back. While the Eagles have struck gold on some players, they definitely have a few selections they wish they could redo.

Yesterday, we gave you the top three tight ends ever drafted by the franchise. Today, you get the three worst.

Here they are.

3. L.J. Smith

The Birds took Smith with the 61st overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. He was a local kid, having grown up in New Jersey and played at Rutgers.

Yet Smith’s career was extremely underwhelming. His best season was in 2005, when he caught 61 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns. Aside from that, he was never much of a factor.

It seemed like every year would be the one in which Smith would finally emerge as the tight end the Eagles’ hoped he’d become. Yet it never happened. The team decided not to retain him after the 2008 season, and he spent one year in Baltimore in 2009 before leaving the game.

Could this pick sting any worse? Of course. The Cowboys took Jason Witten just eight picks after Smith. Not only did they miss out on an All-Pro, but they’ve had to deal with Witten twice a year for the last 11 years.

2. Jason Dunn

Continuing the trend, Dunn was also a second round pick of the Eagles. They took him 54th overall in 1996.

Dunn had an OK rookie season, catching 15 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns. After that, however, there wasn’t much to get excited about.

He would spend two more seasons in Philadelphia, failing to record over 150 receiving yards in either year. He would then head to Kansas City for eight seasons, doing pretty much of the same he did in Philadelphia.

There is a bit of a silver lining with this pick. Only a few picks after the Eagles nabbed Dunn, they were also able to select a safety out of Clemson. His name? Brian Dawkins.

1. Lawrence Sampleton

Like Smith and Dunn, Sampleton was also a second round pick. But Sampleton’s career makes the other two look like Pro Bowlers.

A rookie in 1982, Sampleton never got off the ground. He spent only three seasons with the Eagles, were he caught a grand total of three passes for 52 yards and zero touchdowns. He would leave football after the 1984 season, only to resurface for one season with Miami in 1987.

In that one season, he had more production (8 catches, 63 yards) than he did in his three years as an Eagle.

Sampleton currently works with the Prairie View A&M Foundation.

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