This is the second in a weekly look at how new Chiefs general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid drafted with their previous teams, Dorsey as director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers and Reid as head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Next week: Worst drafts.
Reid’s best draft: 2002
There’s little question the best draft in Reid’s 14 years in Philadelphia was in 2002, his fourth draft with the Eagles.
That draft produced two starting cornerbacks in Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, a starting safety in Michael Lewis and one of the best all-round running backs in Eagles history, Brian Westbrook, who was taken in the third round out of Villanova.
The Eagles, coming off an 11-5 season, drafted 26th in the first round and selected Sheppard, who played at Florida. Sheppard, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, intercepted 18 passes in seven seasons, and he became the first player in NFL history to record two 100-yard plus interception returns for touchdowns in his career with 101-yarder at Dallas in 2004 and a 102-yarder against the Cowboys in 2006.
Lewis, a second-round pick from Colorado, was a five-year starter who went to one Pro Bowl before signing with San Francisco as an unrestricted free agent in 2007. He intercepted nine passes in five seasons, returning one 84 yards for a touchdown in 2004.
The Eagles used another second round pick for Brown, a hard-hitting cornerback from South Carolina, who became a full-time starter in 2004. Brown intercepted 19 passes in eight seasons with the Eagles, including five in his final year in 2009 before he was traded to Cleveland in 2010. Brown excelled at the corner blitz and recorded seven career sacks for the Eagles, a high number for a corner.
Westbrook, a two-time Pro Bowler, became one of the NFL’s most electrifying players, capped by a 2007 season in which he broke franchise records in receptions (90) and yards from scrimmage (2,104) while rushing for a career-best 1,333 yards. Westbrook led the Eagles in rushing and receiving during 2005-07 and in rushing in 2008. He also returned two punts for touchdowns as a rookie.
Dorsey’s best draft: 2009
Dorsey, as director for college scouting under Green Bay general managers Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson, didn’t make the final call on Packers’ draft picks, but his voice was heard.
The Packers’ draft of 2009 had a lot to do with Green Bay winning the Super Bowl a year later.
In the first round, six picks after the Chiefs took defensive end Tyson Jackson with the third overall pick, the Packers selected nose tackle B.J. Raji. Raji started just one game in 2009, but he became a dominant force in the Super Bowl-winning season of 2010. In 2011, Raji became the first Packers defensive tackle to be voted to the Pro Bowl since Bob Brown in 1972.
Green Bay didn’t stop there in the first round. The Packers sent a second-round and two third-round picks to New England for the Patriots’ first- and fifth-round picks. With the 26th overall pick, the Packers selected USC linebacker Clay Matthews, who fell down the draft board because of concerns about his size.
Matthews dispelled those questions immediately. He became one of the league’s most impactful players, earning Pro Bowl recognition in each of his first four seasons; was the Committee of 101’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 when he had 13 1/2 sacks; and returned interceptions for touchdowns in both 2010 and 2011. Matthews had 13 sacks in 2012.
Though the Packers didn’t have a pick in the second or third rounds, they found another starter in the fourth in offensive lineman T.J. Lang out of Eastern Michigan. Lang has started games at left tackle, left guard and right tackle in four seasons, and has been part of the one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses.
Any player who can make a team from the sixth and seventh rounds is a bonus, and sixth-round pick Jarius Wynn, a defensive end from Georgia; and seventh-round pick Brad Jones of Colorado have been valuable contributors.
Wynn was part of the Packers’ defensive line rotation, playing mostly in nickel situations and had 4 1/2 sacks in 2010 and 2011 before he moved on to Tennessee in 2012. Jones was one of the Packers’ top special teams players during his first three seasons but worked his way into the starting lineup in 2012 and had two sacks, a forced fumble and four pass deflections.