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The One That Got Away: NFL Execs Tell the Tales of Their Biggest Draft Misses


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Joe Montana could have been a Chicago Bear!!! Fascinating inside look at what really goes on in those draft rooms: a surprising amount of violence!

And everyone wishes they could have a do-over when it comes to Russell Wilson—none more than the Eagles.

Joe Banner, who was the Eagles president in 2012, recalls Philadelphia having a first-round grade on Wilson, but the team believed he would be available when they were scheduled to make a selection with the 25th pick in the third round. They used second-round picks on linebacker Mychal Kendricks and defensive end Vinny Curry.

"Considering what Russell has turned out to be and how high we had him graded, we should have used one of those picks on him and not outsmarted ourselves," Banner said. "Howie [Roseman] and Andy [Reid] had so much enthusiasm for him. We thought if he were 6'3", he'd be the first pick in the draft with no debate. We were all invested and excited. We thought he was going to be our quarterback of the future."

It would have been interesting to see the reaction of Eagles fans if their team had drafted a 5'11" quarterback.

"I wasn't really worried about his height," said Reid, who has a history of strong quarterback evaluation. "I thought he could function. He didn't look small behind the biggest line in the country at Wisconsin. He was a big Drew Brees fan and fit his game after his. He had natural leadership ability and was smart—those are two good qualities. He won you over with his attitude and desire to be great."

As fate would have it, the Seahawks chose Wilson with the 12th pick in the third round. Thirteen picks later, the Eagles chose quarterback Nick Foles.

The man who drafted Wilson, Seahawks general manager John Schneider, once worked down the hall from Reid in Green Bay. They shared thoughts and watched tape together when the Packers were drafting quarterbacks like Mark Brunell. So it is not a surprise that they were of like mind on Wilson.

The most interesting part of the story might be that both Wilson and Foles could have been Eagles. Back in Green Bay when Reid worked with Wolf, he came to appreciate the value of stockpiling the quarterback position.

"If we could have, we would have taken Russell in the third round and Nick in the fourth," said Reid, now head coach of the Chiefs. "It would have been great competition."

Maybe Reid still would be coaching the Eagles. Maybe the Seahawks never would have played in a Super Bowl. Maybe Wilson would have become an NFL MVP in Chip Kelly's offense.

Instead, he's one of the ones that got away. One of the missed opportunities that changed the course of NFL history.

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