Dawk Day

Posted: February 4th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 37 Comments »

We’ll find out today if Brian Dawkins makes the Hall of Fame in this year’s class. He will definitely get in, but not all players make it the first year.

I wrote about Dawk and other Eagles who could get into Canton.

Words don’t always do Dawkins justice. Check out this piece by NFL Films to really appreciate his greatness.

Out of curiosity, I went back to see some draft reviews from 1996. The Eagles took OL Jermane Mayberry in the 1st round. They took TE Jason Dunn and Dawkins in the 2nd. QB Bobby Hoying was the team’s 3rd round selection.

As crazy as it seems now, Dawk got the least coverage of that group. Mayberry was the 1st rounder so that meant the most focus on him. Dunn was taken 7 spots ahead of Dawkins, but for some reason, there was a real fascination with him. He was big and athletic, but came from Eastern Kentucky and had off-field questions. Hoying got attention because he was the 2nd QB taken in the entire draft. He was thought to be the QB of the future, being a good player from Ohio State.

The write-ups on Dawk talk about him being a starter at FS, but also talk about the impact he would have on STs. They were positive, but short. Dawk was 5-11, 190 back then. Think about other Eagles FS from that era. Wes Hopkins was 6-1, 213. Greg Jackson was 6-1, 217. Dawk wasn’t compelling from a size perspective. Clemson wasn’t a football factory pumping out elite talent back then. There just wasn’t a reason to get excited about Dawk.

All of that changed when he hit the field. Eric Zomalt was the starting FS to begin the season, but Dawk took the job quickly and never let go of it.

There are only a couple of regrets when it comes to Brian Dawkins.

We never got to see him win a Super Bowl. He came close in 2004, but never made it back. That doesn’t diminish his career, but it would have so great to see Dawk holding the Lombardi Trophy. He gave his heart and soul to the game of football.

It also hurt that Dawk didn’t finish his career as an Eagle. He was a free agent after the 2008 season. The Eagles made an offer, but not enough. Joe Banner negotiated too aggressively and Dawk went elsewhere. Joe did a great job on most contracts, but this was one time he shouldn’t have negotiated with a win/lose mentality. Dawk is the kind of guy you want to retire an Eagle. He was a special player. Having some extra salary cap space wasn’t worth ending his time in Philly.

Let’s not pretend that having Dawk those final 3 years would have substantially changed things for the Eagles. He was a declining player. As great as he was, age gets the best of everyone. Dawkins would have made the Eagles better, but it was more important to see him finish his career in Philly. That was the right thing to do. That should have happened.

Dawkins didn’t stay away for long. He’s been involved with the Eagles in recent years and is now part of the personnel department.

Dawk didn’t get a title as a player. It would be pretty cool if he could be part of a title team as an executive. Seeing him hold the Lombardi Trophy would make for a magical moment.


Paul Domowitch wrote a great piece on Dawk. This starts with him as a kid and covers everything. Make sure you read this. The pre-draft stuff from the Eagles was really interesting.

But a lot of NFL scouts didn’t have a very high opinion of him. He had six interceptions his senior year and was a punishing tackler. But at just 187 pounds, he was viewed as a “tweener.” Not quite fast enough to play corner, not really big enough to play safety. In fact, many teams had Clemson’s other safety at the time, Leomont Evans, rated higher than Dawkins.

One guy who definitely wasn’t lukewarm about Dawkins was John Wooten, who was the Eagles’ director of college scouting at the time.

He really liked the kid and thought he could be an early-round steal.

“Back then, there wasn’t any social media,” Wooten said. “You could hide a guy if you didn’t tip your hand to it. That’s what we were banking on.”

Wooten asked Eagles defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas to look at tape of Dawkins and also keep a close eye on him at the February scouting combine.

“I wanted Emmitt to take a look at him because I saw a fine leader,” Wooten said. “A guy that took charge. He had extreme ball skills, but also had great awareness as it relates to his teammates and so forth.

“I said, ‘Emmitt, take a look at him and see if you see what I see.’ I said, ‘If you don’t see what I see, then we’ll move away from him.’ “

Thomas saw what Wooten saw.

“Emmitt came back (from the combine) and loved him,” Wooten said. “He just took over the combine. You would’ve thought he was the captain of the DBs at the workout. He was ahead of everybody. He was doing everything. Which is the same thing I saw at Clemson.”

In the weeks leading up to the ’96 draft, the Eagles did their best to mute their enthusiasm for Dawkins. Both Thomas and head coach Ray Rhodes purposely stayed away from Clemson’s Pro Day.

“Ray sent another guy down to work him out and talk to him to keep other people from knowing that was the guy we wanted in the first or second round,” said Thomas.

Added Wooten: “When you’re in this business, you get paranoid. You know that other people are watching what you’re doing and trying to figure out what you’re going to do at a certain point in the draft.”


The Eagles were so high on Dawkins, they even touted him to cornerback Troy Vincent when they were recruiting Vincent in free agency. And that was nearly two months before they selected him in the draft.

“Emmitt called me and said, ‘We think we’ve identified somebody who can be real special if he learns the game and we can get him under control,” Vincent said. “They hadn’t even drafted him yet.

“Emmitt said, ‘We believe that with the three of you all’ – me, Dawk and Bobby (Taylor) – exact words – ‘we can compete with the Cowboys. We can knock the Cowboys off.’ If I recall correctly, he called Brian a juggernaut. A little juggernaut.”

How crazy is that?


37 Comments on “Dawk Day”

  1. 1 Greg Richards said at 12:59 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Man, if John Lynch gets selected and Dawk misses out…..

  2. 2 laeagle said at 1:02 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Maybe it’s a good idea to save the fuming until something actually happens…

  3. 3 Greg Richards said at 1:03 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I’m just mentally preparing myself.

  4. 4 laeagle said at 1:07 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I used to do that too until I realized that I have enough actual things to get angry about without spending cycles angry about things that might happen or could have happened.

    I’ve probably told this story here before, but the clincher was years ago when I had Madden on the xbox at my apartment. No one was playing so the game went into demo mode (computer versus computer). The Eagles were one of the teams playing. I was doing stuff around my apartment as the fake game played on, but kept tuning in as I saw things were going against the Eagles. And I got more and more angry at Andy Reid. At one point with the game on the line, the computer picked a stupid play and was stopped on 3rd and short. I flipped out, saying “Goddammit! Typical Eagles bullshit!” I think I threw whatever I was holding across the room.

    That was when I realized that _maybe_ I could take things down a notch or so. This was also around the time of Smarty Jones, when I got pissed off about him not winning the Triple Crown, until I realized that I was getting upset over a fucking horse race (and with no money involved!).

  5. 5 Greg Richards said at 1:11 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I do the same thing but I know when I’m doing it that it’s crazy and I do it anyway. There’s something cathartic about non-sensical ranting.

  6. 6 Anders said at 5:15 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    The worst argument is that lynch deserve to get in this year because it’s his second year despite the fact that he imo is not even worthy

  7. 7 laeagle said at 1:02 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    When Dawk signed in Denver, I have to say, I was kind of on the team’s side. I mean, I understand you want to keep a guy like that around, but he was declining, and Denver did offer a contract that was WAAAY out of proportion for a guy of his age. I felt sad, but felt like I understood why it had to happen. Better a year early than a year late, as they say. And usually that’s good advice.

    And while I’ll admit that I was at least in a controversial position with my belief, that one could argue that it’s not just keeping _any_ guy around a year too late, but a future hall of famer, and that I knew that, I didn’t realize until later how absolutely wrong my position worked out to be.

    Dawkins did decline, but no where near the expected rate. He still had 2 more great years in him. Maybe not HOF caliber years, but he still had some real gas in the tank. What’s worse, we had crap. Quintin Mikell was a solid player, but he wasn’t as good as an old Dawk. And everyone else was garbage.

    So I was wrong on 2 fronts: not only was there more left in the tank, but we absolutely needed him at any cost, not just because he was Dawk, but because he was better than anyone else we had for YEARS. And who knows what he could have done to help some of those young safeties who came through and failed.

    I’ll never forgive Joe Banner. Or myself.

  8. 8 Greg Richards said at 1:04 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Yeah, I agreed at the time. I liked Demps but more than that I was worried for Dawk. He had developed a really bad habit of dropping his head for every single tackle and I thought he was going to end up with a broken neck.

  9. 9 FairOaks said at 11:42 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I do wonder how much our perspective would have changed had we drafted Earl Thomas instead of Graham. It almost appeared like the team wanted to avoid criticism of having to “make up” for losing Dawkins by drafting a safety that high, although I’m sure they just had fallen in love with Graham. Certainly Graham was still a good pick, and it’s always possible the coaching here may have meant that Thomas never got as good here as he did in Seattle, but it’s still one of those what-ifs that continues to linger.

  10. 10 D3FB said at 9:11 AM on February 5th, 2017:

    Playing in the Castillo-9 would have destroyed Thomas.

  11. 11 ACViking said at 2:35 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Rhodes and Wooten don’t get enough credit for building the foundation of Andy Reid’s ’00-’04 playoff teams.

    Heck, in their last draft for the Eagles in ’98, they selected:
    – Tra Thomas
    – Jeremiah Trotter
    – Brandon Whiting
    – Ike Reese

    I’m not sure in the entire 13-year Reid era, the Eagles had a draft that productive.

    In addition to those four, Rhodes and Wooten also were responsible for acquiring, by drafting/signing/trading:

    – Brian Dawkins
    – Bobby Taylor
    – Troy Vincent
    – Al Harris
    – Hugh Douglas
    – Hollis Thomas
    – Mike Caldwell
    – Jermaine Mayberry
    – Chad Lewis
    – Duce Staley
    – Bubba Miller
    – Koy Detmer (greatest FG holder ever)

    NOTE: Rhodes/Wooten also signed OT George Hegamin — without whom Reid never could have put his personal stamp on the Eagles.

  12. 12 TommyLawlor said at 2:37 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    The 1998 draft was due to Bryan Broaddus. Never understood why a team didn’t give him a chance to repeat that. Now works for Cowboys website. Good person to follow on Twitter.

  13. 13 ACViking said at 2:39 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Thanks, T-Law. (Won’t make this mistake again.)

    Was BB cut loose when Reid arrived?

  14. 14 TommyLawlor said at 5:46 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Great article. Lurie had great intentions when he hired Modrak, but Modrak is one of those guys who was not meant to be a GM. Being a good personnel guy and a good GM are different things.

    Broaddus is very generous with comments on Lombardi. I don’t think nearly as high of Mike. No idea why Broaddus didn’t get more credit for what he did in that draft.

  15. 15 Media Mike said at 8:05 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I can’t find it, but a few Browns writers had some funny tweets about Lombardi refusing to let Belichick draft Warren Sapp.

  16. 16 Gary Barnes said at 5:42 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I love Dawk as a player and hope he gets into the HOF. Best game I remember of his was vs San Diego where he scored a TD on offense and one on defense. The defensive one was a fumble he picked up and out-ran some guy named LT to the end zone. The offensive one was I believe on a trick play where he ran it in.

    The flaw was his and the defense’s performances in most of the big playoff games. The best game he and the defense had was the 2004 NFCCG where he nailed Alge Crumpler hard and also picked off Vick later. That unfortunately was balanced by him falling down in the end zone as a Carolina Panther easily caught a TD in 2003 and largely forgettable play vs STL and TB in 2001 and 2002 not to mention in the SB in 2004.

  17. 17 Greg Richards said at 6:41 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Do you guys want to know Hall of Fame spoilers?

  18. 18 ACViking said at 7:21 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    What’s to spoil?

    Watching another garbage made-for-TV NFL production?

    Fire away . . .

  19. 19 Greg Richards said at 7:32 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    IN – Terrell Davis, LaDainan Tomlinson, Jason Taylor
    OUT – Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens, John Lynch, Tony Boselli, Joe Jacoby

    Dawkins should get in before Davis and Taylor.

  20. 20 Greg Richards said at 7:08 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Stupid idiots. Dawk didn’t make it.

  21. 21 Corry said at 7:20 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    That’s upsetting, but I can’t say that I’m shocked.

  22. 22 ACViking said at 7:22 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Safeties have to wait their turn. (Ridiculously)

    Kenny Easley (senior vote) should have gotten in years ago.

    At least as good as Ronnie Lott.

  23. 23 Corry said at 7:40 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Unfortunately, this is true. The line at safety is long and only going to get longer with Reed and Polamalu coming up.

  24. 24 Patrick said at 7:33 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Holy shit, it looks like Morten Andersen made it, that would be terrific news. Sucks that Dawk didnt get it.

  25. 25 Greg Richards said at 7:41 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I think it’s laughable that a K, any kicker, made it and Brian Dawkins didn’t.

  26. 26 Patrick said at 7:44 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    If thats your opinion because of a specific position, I find it laughable that basically any non QB barring players like Jim Brown and Jerry Rice made the HoF.

  27. 27 Greg Richards said at 8:07 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Even if you shouldn’t discount kickers(you’re probably right on that), Andersen’s resume as a kicker doesn’t stand up. 79.7% career FG percentage. That would be in the lower 3rd of the league now and put a player in danger of being cut. Plus he kicked at least half the time in a dome.

  28. 28 Patrick said at 8:47 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    How many of the old school players have stats that match up with modern day players? Andersen is the NFL record holder for points and games played, at least until Adam Vinatieri breaks those. Andersen is literally he definiton of a player who accomplished special things throughout his career, yet he has been disrespected because of his position. Its really hard to compare positions, but positions should not determine if you get in, because then QBs would basically be at a major advantage and non skill players would literally never get in. Morten Andersen is one of the best kickers of all time, if not the best. How many players can argue that?

    His only legitimate knocks are:
    The lack of rings, which is not only a ridiculous argument in a team sport, but would also rule out Brian Dawkins.

    Maybe you can critique the fact that volume is Andersens main point, but we are talking about a position that has maybe the second most pressure behind QB in the NFL and where losing your confidence literally sends kickers into retirement in weeks, never to be heard of again. The longevity and ability to do his job into his forties is astonishing. He literally doubles Jerry Rice total points and most of Jerry Rice stats are arguably unbreakable, mainly because he too was able to simply play the game at a high level for decades. Sebastian Janikowski is often mentioned as a kicker worth a first round pick and has an extremely long career, yet he isn’t even close.

    Ideally, Andersen would have a (1)higher percentage, (2)more 50+ yards and (3) more game winners.
    Regarding 1, volume. Justin Tucker has kicked 353 kicks in his NFL career for a very impressive percentage. Morten Andersen has more than 1500. The argument is purely valid with Vinatieri who should be a first ballot HoF, especially because of his rings and SB game winners. Of the 20 most accurate kickers, 17 of them are still active. Their percentage will likely go down when they have that one bad year that sends them into retirement, unless we should just think that 17 of the 20 best kickers are currently active. Blair Walsh and Greg Zuerlein looked like the best kickers in the league for a while, now they completely fell of and that happens all the time with kickers. Andersen did his thing for 20 years through injuries and old age.
    Regarding 2, even despite his longer career, you can’t ignore the fact that Andersen hold the records for most 50+ yard kicks ever, in a season and in a game. Emmett Smith also leads the league in career rushing yards, but coincidentally also in attempts. Those are often connected.
    Regarding 3, i couldn’t google the amount of game winning kicks and missed game winning kicks, but i’m willing to bet that Andersen is up there.

    Are we really gone discount a player because of a dome? Should we discount QBs who play in a dome? How about any kicker from Denver who benefits from the altitude? Should we discount modern WRs stats because of the gloves they wear or the fact that teams generally throw the ball more? Should we cut stats in half? Hell, Vinatieri will probably break Andersens record, but benefitted from playing with Brady, Manning and Luck in some of the most high powered offenses in the league and probably the best examples of why the NFL is now a passing league. Doesn’t change the fact that Vinatieri, kicker or not, is a tremendously special player in the NFL. The same goes for Andersen and its criminally bad that kickers still get disrespected when teams literally learn every year whether they can trust their kicker.

    Morten Andersen was a special player in the NFL. Special players belong in the Hall of Fame.

  29. 29 Fufina said at 7:49 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    No pure safety has made it since 1998. They really do not seem to respect the position in the committee.

  30. 30 Greg Richards said at 7:39 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    5 Modern Era Inductees are reportedly Terrell Davis, LaDainan Tomlinson, Kurt Warner, Jason Taylor and……Morten Andersen.

  31. 31 Media Mike said at 8:04 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    I want heads on spikes!

    No TO? No Dawk? Ok, but who over them?

    Davis? No career totals!
    Warner? No career totals and is fan fiction quoting jackass when arguing with adults.
    Anderson? Ok, I guess some kickers should be in.
    Taylor? Nice players. A HOFer in my book, but not ahead of TO and Dawk.

    I need some names PRONTO of the specific voters responsible.

  32. 32 Dragon_Eagle said at 8:30 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Dallas sucks.

  33. 33 CrackSammich said at 9:10 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    In that Troy Vincent story, how ballsy is it to sell him on them drafting Dawkins and then take him with their third pick. Slow playing the pocket aces never ends well…

  34. 34 Fufina said at 9:37 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    The amount of RB’s that make it into the HOF is insane, i have no problem with QB’s having a disproportionate representation, they are faces of franchises and it is the most important position in football.

    This is the list of the 10 RB’s who have gone into the Hall since the last safety: Dickerson, Marcus Allen, Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Emmit Smith, Faulk, Curtis Martin, Bettis, Davis, Tomlinson.

    Some great rushers there who obviously deserve to be in the hall. But all of them? Some guys who were good rather than great players here.

  35. 35 Fufina said at 9:41 PM on February 4th, 2017:

    Also Dawkins may need to wait a while now. next years class will include first ballot guys in; Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher. That leaves only 2 slots available for now.

    After that they will put in Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed before Dawk as probably first ballot guys.

  36. 36 Greg Richards said at 9:15 AM on February 5th, 2017:

    I don’t think Urlacher should get in ahead of Dawkins. And Moss deserves to get in but may not for the same reasons T.O. is excluded.

  37. 37 GordonGekko said at 2:09 PM on February 5th, 2017:

    Who cares about his background and Domo’s piece. I watch players as they play, I don’t give a SH*T about their background unless they are criminal HOOD RATS.