The Eagles selected Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick in the first round in last night’s NFL draft. Reagor brings high upside, blazing speed and amazing vertical to Philadelphia, adding to an offense which desperately lacked these capabilities in 2019. I think adding Reagor does a number of things.
First, Reagor’s deep speed will be respected by any and every team the Philadelphia Eagles play. He clocked in at a max playing speed of 22.6 mph, for comparison, the highest any player in the NFL had last season was 22.3 (Matt Breida). This is what General Manager, Howie Roseman has spoken about all offseason, adding speed. Speed that can maximize Carson Wentz’s ability and speed that can open up so much more for every other person on the offense.
On the note of opening up more for every person on the offense, Reagor sets off a sort of chain reaction of sorts. With his deep speed threatening every time the Eagles line up, defenses will have to keep a safety over the top and this in itself can open up the seams for tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. As you may remember, last year opponents were putting their number one corners on Ertz because there was 1) no one who could get open and 2) they feared no one at receiver. Reagor changes that. Another person who may benefit a lot from Reagor’s presence is second year wideout, JJ Arcega-Whiteside. With Reagor over the top and DeSean Jackson on the other side, Doug Pederson may decide to work JJAW into the slot at times this year due to his size and what may be open in the middle of the field on intermediate routes such as slants, curls, outs, crossers or digs. This addition is huge for JJAW in my opinion.
Reagor also brings an intense dog-like mentality to the Eagles as a whole. At 5’10 many Eagles fans have called Reagor undersized however when you watch him play it is hard to see that. First he has long arms (31 3/8″) and strong hands, in watching Reagor there were catches that he made that you just don’t expect a player his size to be able to make. Whether its snagging a pass that looks un-catchable (by the way, Reagor caught the most percentage of un-catchable passes of any receiver in the nation) or literally going up over taller defenders with his freakish 42 INCH VERTICAL (Again he’s 5’10), Reagor is a DOG.
Another tool Reagor brings to the Eagles is versatility, versatility in play calling, how he’s used and offensive sets. Now that there is a legit deep threat on the roster, Doug Pederson finally has a toy to play with. As a play caller or designer, Doug Pederson has a bevy of ways he can use Reagor. They can move him all over the formation X, Z or the slot. They can use him as a returner, on screens and out of the backfield.
To me, this offense looks to be heading toward a Kansas City Chiefs style of offense. Centered solely around speed. Think about it
Goedert: Kelce lite type of role
Ertz is obviously in a class of his own which gives the Eagles a leg up
DeSean Jackson: Mecole Hardman
The person this addition benefits the most is Carson Wentz. This addition gives the Eagles the avenue to maximize Wentz’s skillset as a deep ball thrower. We saw what Wentz could do with a legit deep threat in one game in 2019 as well as a semi, legit one in Torrey Smith in 2017. Giving him a young speedy, versatile and juiced up receiver heading into the prime of his career spells trouble for the rest of the NFL.
Many people may be upset at the pick because like me they wanted Justin Jefferson or a trade up for CeeDee Lamb. However on the Jefferson aspect, the Reagor pick was about two things: familiarity and fit. One, Jalen Reagor’s father, Montae Reagor played for the Eagles in 2007 and was a coaching intern for the team in 2011. Who else was on that staff in 2011 when Howie Roseman was the GM, Doug Pederson was the QBs coach. Montae Reagor also played with the Eagles current wide receiver coach, Aaron Moorehead on the Indianapolis Colts. They know the player and they know what he is like. In the current situation of the world, with everything such as pro days and pre draft facility visits suspended, Reagor made all the sense in the world, all things considered. Two, the Eagles were slow in 2019, There’s no other way to put it, they were the slowest most lackadaisical offense I have ever watched after losing DeSean Jackson. Reagor gives the Eagles what they missed and needed the most: Speed. Speed that Justin Jefferson doesn’t have. Sure, Jefferson is versatile as he can play both inside and outside, but when you take into account the many ways Reagor can be used, you will begin to see why he was the pick. On the Lamb front, yes it stings to see him go to that team in Dallas but, to trade up takes two teams. Howie Roseman could’ve called all the teams ahead of him at 21, but if they didn’t want to trade out, it was never gonna happen. Also a point I want to make; yes Lamb was/is the best in this class and some of what he does as far as YAC is elite, I wouldn’t say he’s this can’t miss Calvin Johnson type of player. In fact, according to Adam Caplan, there were teams that didn’t know where he should go as far as picks in the first round. In the end, I think staying at 21 and taking Reagor and keeping all our picks was ultimately the right decision to make for the franchise.