For the next few weeks before the NFL Draft on April 23-25, we’ll be looking at some viable options for the Eagles and the No. 21 pick.
By the time Howie Roseman phones in the 21st pick from the confines of his own home on April 23, there’s a good chance the top four receivers will have already come off the board.
So who offers the most potential after Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson? Enter TCU’s Jalen Reagor. His electric, yet erratic tape matches up with the explosion (42-inch vertical, 138-inch broad jump) he displayed at the combine. But the speed you see on the field runs counter to his disappointing 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, especially after he boasted that he would be the fastest man in Indy. Still, he has a knack for making big plays with the ball in his hands, although securing the catch has been his bugaboo (9 drops in 2019). Reagor is a force in the open field, and offers added value in the return game, running back a pair of punts last season.
The big question is if his massive upside can outweigh the inconsistency. Reagor (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) was held to 15 or fewer yards in four games last season, though his stat line no doubt suffered because of poor quarterback play. He saw a precipitous drop in production overall in 2019, managing just 43 catches for 611 yards and 5 scores, nearly half of his output from the previous season (72/1,061/9).
He has NFL bloodlines and familiarity with the organization, as the son of former Eagles defensive tackle Montae Reagor.
Current roster at WR: Plain and simple, the Eagles need weapons to grow with Carson Wentz. While JJ Arcega-Whiteside shouldn’t be written off entirely, they can’t afford to come away empty-handed in back-to-back drafts this flush with talent at receiver. What’s worse, they’re devoting $24 million in cap space to a pair of wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery who are on the downside of their careers and couldn’t stay on the field in 2019. An infusion of youth and big-play potential is a necessity.
How he would fit: Pairing Reagor with a healthy (fingers crossed) Jackson on the outside would put opposing defenses in a bind. But the chances of Reagor being a plug-and-play starter from the jump seem slim, especially considering the condensed offseason he’ll likely be facing. There is no grace period anymore for a rookie wideout, especially on a team retooling (not rebuilding) in the hopes of getting its hands on another Lombardi Trophy. Reagor is a project who profiles more as a gadget guy than a player who could serve as the focal point of your passing attack. That should give the Eagles plenty of pause with the 21st pick. If he manages to still be on the board in Round 2, that’s a different story.
Eagles history at WR in draft: Their struggles drafting wideouts of late are well documented. As is the recent and sordid past of receivers coming out of the pass-happy Big 12. Guys like Justin Blackmon, Tavon Austin, Josh Doctson, Kendall Wright and Corey Coleman were picked based on measurables and potential but turned into first-round flameouts. However, the last time the Eagles turned to the Big 12 for a wideout in the opening round they nabbed Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri with the 19th pick in 2009. I think they’d sign up for that level of success this time around.
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