Hopes were high for one No. 18 in Eagles history.
In fact, the trade to bring the No. 18 to Philadelphia looked like a steal. Instead, it was the Eagles who got robbed after Dorial Green-Beckham never panned out once the receiver was acquired for reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly in 2016.
There was another trade, however, for a No. 18 that worked out just fine and you will find Roman Gabriel lodged at No. 3 as our jersey countdown to kickoff reaches No. 18, the same number of days left until the Eagles open the regular season on Sept. 13.
The quarterback came to the Eagles at the age of 33 in 1973 after 11 years with the Los Angeles Rams. His knee and shoulder injuries during his career were getting worse when he got to Philadelphia, but he put together a Pro Bowl season during his first year in town.
He had 270 completions in 460 attempts that season for 3,219 yards and 23 touchdowns in 1973, all league highs. Gabriel was named the Comeback Player of the Year.
Gabriel started 38 games in his five seasons with the Eagles, but his last two years were served as a backup to Ron Jaworski.
Here’s the rest of the No. 18 examination:
Current number 18:
Jalen Reagor. Hello, new number one. OK, Reagor hasn’t done anything yet after being the Eagles’ first-round pick this past spring except look as good as advertised during training camp. If he can carry that over into the regular season, well, we could be looking at the top-ranked No. 18 by the middle of the decade.
Top 3 to wear number 18:
3. Roman Gabriel. See above.
2. Jeremy Maclin. The 19th player taken overall in the 2009 draft, the receiver spent six years in Philadelphia before moving on to Kansas City for two years then, later, Baltimore for one more year.
He did not play in the 2013 season, however, after a training camp knee injury shelved him.
Maclin caught just about everything thrown his way during his time with the Eagles, ending with 343 catches for 4,771 yards and 36 touchdowns. He was also used as a punt and kickoff returner occasionally.
1. Ben Hawkins. The receiver was taken 36th overall in the 1966 draft by the Eagles and stayed eight seasons. It didn’t take long for him to record his breakout season, leading the NFL in receiving yards with 1,265 yards to go along with 10 touchdowns.
He averaged 18.3 yards per catch in his time with Philadelphia, collecting 4,764 yards and 32 TDs. He also returned 21 punts and 24 kickoffs.
Josh McCown. The veteran quarterback played only one year in Philadelphia, and that was 2019, but he gets high marks for making it into his first-ever playoff game last January when Carson Wentz got knocked out with a concussion early in the first quarter. McCown tore his hamstring, nearly off the bone, before halftime, but gutted it out in the second half. He was also highly regarded by his teammates.
Others: Porter Lainhart, Nick Prisco, Albert Weiner, Joe Pilconis, Herbert Roton, Rankin Britt, Ray Hamilton, Dave Archer, Chris Boniol, Donte Stallworth, Willie Reid, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Shelton Gibson.
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