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Eagles looking for help from Day 3 draft picks

PHILADELPHIA – It was an exciting, boring, frantic draft for the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was exciting early, when the team got to pass the phone around and inform Carson Wentz that he would be the quarterback of the future.

It was boring in the middle, when the Eagles went 73 picks with nothing to do but rewatch the video of the call to Wentz.

And it was frantic on Day 3, when the Eagles made six selections (plus one trade) in the final three rounds. They then got back on the phone, trying to recruit undrafted players.

Obviously, Wentz’s career will define this draft for the Eagles. But they were hoping to add some players who could help on the final days, partly to make up for their lack of picks in the second through fourth rounds.

That is why the Eagles were willing to take chances on players with off-the-field issues that might have gotten them taken off previous years’ draft boards. The question is whether they have much chance of getting any value for those third-day picks.

History is not encouraging.

Over the previous 10 drafts, the Eagles selected a total of 43 players in Rounds 5, 6 and 7. A total of six became regular players for the team. That amounts to 14 percent of the total players taken.

The numbers improve slightly when you include the seven players who became regulars for other teams. They include safety Kurt Coleman, linebacker Andy Studebaker and offensive tackle King Dunlap. That combined amount -- 13 regular players -- is about 30 percent of the 43 total late-round picks.

That means the Eagles have about a one in three chance of drafting an NFL player in Rounds 5 through 7. But half of those players will not get their opportunity to play every week with the team that drafted them.

Coleman played for a few years in Philadelphia and is now a Pro Bowler in Carolina. Linebacker Joe Mays spent a couple frustrating years with the Eagles. He has played in a total of 78 NFL games for five teams.

The hits: Tight end Brent Celek was a fifth-round pick in 2007. He has been a cornerstone player through two head coaching changes. Center Jason Kelce, a sixth-round pick in 2011, is a fixture on the offensive line.

The Eagles will be very fortunate to get a player like that in this draft. They attempted to improve their chances by taking players with red flags on their resumes. Defensive back Jalen Mills was charged with battery for allegedly striking a woman. The charges were eventually dropped. The Eagles selected Mills in the seventh round.

There’s a risk there, but there’s also a risk in taking a cornerback-sized player with safety speed. And there’s also a risk in taking a player who broke his fibula and damaged his ankle last summer (an injury that sounds similar to that of Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll).

That’s what you get in the seventh round. The players with little or no risk attached go on the first or second day of the draft.

Wendell Smallwood, the fifth-round running back, was tangled up in a murder investigation two years ago. He was accused of intimidating a witness against a friend of his. The charges were dropped, the friend pleaded guilty and Smallwood has not been in trouble since.

Alex McCalister, the defensive end from Florida, left the team under murky circumstances. There is no hint of police involvement, but Eagles executive vice president Howie Roseman acknowledged a need for McCalister to grow up.

If the Eagles get production from one of those players, they will be fortunate. That is the reality of this year’s draft. The Eagles used the top of the draft for Wentz and cast a wide net at the bottom of the draft. History says they may get a player or two, but not to count on all of them.