Philadelphia Eagles: Biggest Draft Day Regret In Franchise History
Don’t mention the name Mike Mamula around Philadelphia Eagles and especially around the NFL Draft.
The man who had one of the best Combine performances in NFL history teased Eagles management and fans with his Superman-like skills and then proved to be a fraud as far as football lore goes.
Mamula, for all his hype and his “potential” is a general reminder of a good player who was lifted up to “God-like” status through the media, which led to the Eagles making the move that people still talk about a decade later.
Every year, the media look for the “Next Mamula,” the one who will showcase his skills and prove to be the guy that has everyone drooling.
Mamula did just that.
As Josh Katzowitz wrote on CBSsports.com, Mamula’s gaff created more attention for him than he received on the playing field, making him the evil villain and a cult hero all in one.
He played collegiately at Boston College, and Mike Mamula had an impressive senior year, accumulating 13 sacks and making the All Big East team as a defensive end. But BC was no power program, so Mamula's draft stock heading into that year's combine wasn't all that impressive.
As secondlevelfootball.com recalls, "You can imagine a coach saying, 'Well, if he'd played for a higher-profile school and had been in a defense that fit his skills, he'd be on everyone's radar.' In retrospect, it was also a weak class for defensive linemen, with only a few name players to come out that year." Heading into the combine, Mamula and his coaches spent much of their preparation time focusing on the vertical jump, 40-yard dash, and bench press.
That’s not where it ends. The numbers were certainly impressive.
As Mamula told ESPN.com in 2008: "I went into the combine having done every test hundreds of times while some other guys had never done some of the specific drills." It most certainly showed.
He benched 225 pounds 28 times, he had a vertical jump of 38.5 inches, and he exploded for a 4.58 time in the 40. I wasn't there that day, but I can imagine that the floor of the RCA Dome was littered with the dislocated jaws of NFL personnel.
Today, Mamula would be the equivalent of someone like an Andre Branch of Jacksonville or a Jason Babin of the New York Jets – good players who never have lived up to their capability or their draft status. He could also be classified as an Eric Kumerow or John Bosa, two players the Dolphins took chances on in the mid-1980s, but failed in their attempt to find a solid pass rusher.
The sad thing about Mamula and this Draft remains that this was an expansion Draft where Carolina and Jacksonville were welcomed to the NFL with multiple draft picks, where both teams made several moves up and down the board to secure the future of their franchises.
The Eagles could have saved everyone plenty of trouble by trading down to take the ‘tweener.
Other players who could have been a better fit for the Eagles include Warren Sapp who was drafted 12th by the Buccaneers or Derrick Brooks whom the team selected late in the first round with the 28th overall pick.