Whenever Eagles fans hear the name Justin Jefferson, they have a visceral reaction.
Jefferson is the guy they should have had.
He knows it too. The 22-year-old superstar receiver made an appearance on the AP Pro Football Podcast with Rob Maaddi and said he’s well aware of what Eagles fans think about him and Jalen Reagor, whom the Eagles took one spot ahead of Jefferson in the 2020 draft.
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And Jefferson feels for Reagor.
“I honestly hate it. I hate it for him,” Jefferson said. “I mean, he didn’t ask for any of this. He’s just being the player that he is. I definitely hate it. I hate it for him. Being compared to me all the time, especially with the success that I’m having and the things he’s doing over there. I hate to see it but I guess it is what it is.”
The Eagles took Reagor at No. 21 and the Vikings then celebrated and took Jefferson at No. 22.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Jefferson has become an instant star. He’s a back-to-back Pro Bowler. And after a 1,400-yard rookie season, he followed it up with a 1,600+ season in 2021.
Two years into his career, Jefferson has more catches (196) and yards (3,016) than any player in NFL history.
And then there’s Reagor, who has been an abject disappointment. After a rough rookie season, Reagor actually regressed in 2021.
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For what it’s worth, Reagor has publicly handled those comparisons with Jefferson fairly well. They came up quite a bit in 2020 but Reagor just kept saying he was focusing on himself.
But it’s not even about the Jefferson comparisons at this point. It’s not even about Reagor living up to his first-round status. Entering Year 3, the Eagles just have to hope Reagor can become a functional player, because he actually hurt the team in 2021.
It just doesn’t make it any easier to see all the success Jefferson is having. And because of that, Jefferson will probably continue to draw those reactions from Eagles fans.
“It’s a lot,” Jefferson said. “Going on Twitter, you see it all the time, especially after a Philly game if they lose or whatever the case may be. It is whatever. Things happen for a reason. I’m definitely grateful for being in Minnesota, having the two seasons that I had. Who knows, I probably wouldn’t have had those types of seasons in Philly. Definitely grateful to be in this predicament and playing for the Vikings and to have the career I have.”