Alumni Focus: Mike Mamula

The Eagles had high hopes for Mike Mamula.  He was supposed to be the complete defensive end.  He was going give this defense the identity and toughness it had from the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Taken with the 7th pick in the 1st round of 1995 draft from Boston College, the Eagles thought they had taken the right guy.

In the months leading up to the draft Mamula changed his training regiment to reflect the drills of the combine.  During draft time we often hear the term “workout warrior.”  This fit no one better than Mike Mamula.  He did everything right including training his brain as he scored a 49/50 on the Wonderlic Test.  His score was the second best ever recorded at the combine.  The 28 reps of 225 LBS was most at the 95 combine.  More than top tackle Tony Boselli.  Mamula really began to open eyes when he ran 4.58 forty and had a 38.5″ vertical jump, higher than some CB prospects.

The problem with Mamula was none of these workouts transferred to the field.  To make things worse (and I mean a lot worse) the Eagles traded up to get Mamula.  They traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The Eagles traded the 12th pick and a pair of second round selections to move up to 7.  All of the traded picks were in the 1995 draft.  After Mamula the Buccaneers took Warren Sapp at 12 and traded back into the first round by trading the two picks they got from the Eagles and selected Derrick Brooks at 28 overall.  The Eagles essentially passed on 2 Hall of Famers for the “workout warrior.”

Mike Mamula played with the Eagles for 5 seasons.  During those 5 seasons he registered 206 combined tackles and 31.5 career sacks.  These numbers aren’t terrible.  They aren’t terrible if your a mid round draft pick.  For the 7th overall pick and the two HOF’s the Eagles missed on these are horrible numbers.  Not only was Mamula an embarrassment on the field but he continued to be one off the field.  He got in trouble for pulling his pants down at a bar and only further added to his illustrious tenure.

Over the years the Eagles have missed on some draft picks.  Every team has, but when you trade up and miss on two HOF players it really stings.

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