What a year it’s been for Philadelphia teams. Well, not on the field perhaps, but definitely in the draft room. The Eagles picked Carson Wentz second overall, and the Sixers and Phils had the top selections in their sport.
It’ll be a while before we learn whether Ben Simmons deserves to be the top NBA pick, and much longer before we get to see Mickey Moniak in Phillies pinstripes. But their draft positions already put them in an exclusive club. So let’s rank from top to bottom every player ever taken by a local team with the No. 1 selection:
Chuck Bednarik (Eagles, 1949)
Still the franchise’s most-legendary player 54 years after retiring. The last of the NFL’s two-way monsters and a key component of the Eagles last two title teams. In a city that loves defense, Concrete Charlie was the first superstar middle linebacker.
Allen Iverson (Sixers, 1996)
If you recall, Sixers fans hoped in vain that Tim Duncan would leave Wake Forest after his junior season. Iverson was a fine consolation prize. A new inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, his 26.7 points per game ranks seventh all-time. A lot of nonsense, but endless highlights.
Eric Lindros (1991)
Technically, of course, he was drafted by Quebec but ended up here a year later at a hefty price. Is it possible for a deserved Hall of Famer to be a career disappointment? Lindros was billed as a mix of Gordie Howe and Mark Messier. Injuries and family-vs.-team dynamics kept him from reaching that. Still, he won an MVP, took the Flyers to a Cup finals and ranks 19th all-time in points per game.
Brad Daughtery (1986)
Oops. Never happened, of course. Sixers owner Harold Katz concluded that Daughtery was too soft, so traded the pick to Cleveland for three pairs of sweat socks. The 7-footer became a five-time All-Star for the Cavs.
Related link: Allen Iverson has advice for Ben Simmons
Pat Burrell (Phillies, 1998)
He often drove us nuts over the years, but Burrell’s 251 homers rank fourth in franchise history. He was an RBI machine on productive teams. Rode straight from the 2008 title parade into the sunset — or, at least, to Tampa. A first-ballot inductee in the Old City Late Night Hall of Fame.
Doug Collins (Sixers, 1973)
Knee injuries shortened his career, but Collins made four All-Star teams and averaged 17.9 points over his 415 games. He was a big part of the Sixers rising from 9-73 to the NBA Finals in four years. Lost some luster during his tenure as coach here.
Mel Bridgman (Flyers, 1975)
A solid two-way forward who loved to fight — usually against Terry O’Reilly. He succeeded Bobby Clarke as captain. Bridgman spent six seasons with the Flyers, where his mustache was often named first star.
Jay Berwanger (Eagles, 1936) and Sam Francis (Eagles, 1937)
Don’t recall them? Francis was an Olympic shot putter and college fullback. The Eagles drafted him and immediately traded his rights to the Bears. Berwanger, the first-ever Heisman Trophy winner, skipped pro football entirely and instead became a foam rubber salesman.
We don’t know where Simmons and Moniak end up on this list. But we sure don’t see foam rubber sales in either of their futures.