The 2000's have been a pretty good millenium for the Philadelphia Eagles. Appearing in one-third of the NFC Championships, two Super Bowl appearances, and one Lombardi Trophy; the franchise has been pushing a lot more "right buttons" than wrong ones. This begins in the yearly NFL drafts.
Drafting well is the single best way to build a franchise. More importantly finding value in the later rounds of drafts is key, because it allows the team more flexibility with cap space. However, as was clear in 2011, a team of big name free agents does not always lead to success. Here are the top 8 Eagles draft steals of the millennium (since 2001).
#8 - OL Todd Herremans | 4th Round Pick 2005
Herremans was a staple on the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line for about a decade. While he was never apart of a Super Bowl team, he did play in the 2008 NFC Championship. Herremans was always highly regarded in the locker room as a leader, and is about as much as you can ask for from a fourth rounder from Saginaw Valley State.
#7 - CB Jalen Mills | 7th Round Draft Pick 2016
Love him or hate him, Jalen Mills has been an absolute steal given where he was drafted vs his output for the team. Mills was the starting corner for the Super Bowl Champions. While the team was picked apart in the Super Bowl, the entire season cannot be discounted.
# 6 - TE Brent Celek | 5th Round Draft Pick 2007
Brent Celek is another late round pick that was a fixture at his position on the team for a decade. Celek was known as a locker room leader, and was a big part of the 2017 Super Bowl Championship. While he didn't put up the receiving numbers, Celek did much of the dirty work at the TE position with his blocking ability. in 2009, Celek nearly touched 1,000 yards receiving with 971 and 8 TDs over 15 starts.
# 5 - DE Trent Cole | 5th Round Draft Pick 2005
Trent Cole was yet another fixture on the team for a decade. A fifth round pick out of Cincinnati, Cole made a statement from the moment he entered the league. Over seven starts in his rookie season, Cole tallied five sacks. He notched double-digit sacks in four of his 10 seasons with the team, and sits 2nd in franchise history in sacks (85.5)
#4 - RB Brian Westbrook | 3rd Round Draft Pick 2002
While a third round choice is considered high, B-West produced numbers that of a first round draft choice. Before Alvin Kamara, it was B-West who was known as the runner-receiver-returner. In back to back seasons, B-West went for 1,916 and 2,104 yards from scrimmage with 11 and 12 touchdowns respectively. Westbook was an absolute steal for the team in the third round.
#3 - RB LeSean McCoy | 2nd Round Draft Pick 2009
Another higher draft pick, McCoy was still a steal in the mid-late second round. McCoy is the franchise's all-time rushing leader (6,792 rushing yards), and achieved that in just six seasons with the team. McCoy led the NFL in rushing in 2013, and put up an astonishing 2,146 yards from scrimmage that season. McCoy will go down as the best running back in franchise history, and would've easily cemented that status if not traded in 2015.
#2 - QB Nick Foles | 3rd Round Draft Pick 2012
Nick Foles was the seventh QB drafted in the 2012 NFL draft, and only one of the other QB's have won a Super Bowl in Russell Wilson. Foles was not highly regarded out of Arizona, but Andy Reid saw something in the lanky QB. Foles showed flashes in his first stint with the Eagles under Chip Kelly, before he too was ultimately traded. Foles came back to the Birds and well, the rest is history. How can you keep the first QB to bring home a Lombardi off this list?
#1 - C Jason Kelce | 6th Round Draft Pick 2011
Kelce was another late round draft choice from Cincinnati, and yet another fixture on the Eagles offensive line for the better part of a decade. Well known around the league for his Super Bowl parade speech, and play on the field; Kelce has been a leader, if not THE leader in the Eagles locker room. Kelce is the glue that keeps the best offensive line in football together, and well deserves the top spot in the greatest draft steals of this millennium.