When the Philadelphia Eagles season ended the organization’s main objective in the offseason was to get young wide receivers to build around their quarterback. They didn’t sign any of the veterans in free agency and they didn’t trade for any of the big names that were avaliable. The goal was to get players that could grow with the quarterback and maximize their quarterback. Jalen Reagor does just that.
In Jalen Reagor’s three seasons at TCU, the wideout played with seven different quarterbacks. Read that again. HE PLAYED WITH SEVEN DIFFERENT QUARTERBACKS. There was no continuity or stability that could allow Reagor to grow as a player due to the main instrument that could determine his success was constantly changing.
The QB play Reagor was saddled with was inconsistent most of his college career. Off target passes, inaccurate throws, overthrows were all things Reagor suffered through during his college years. Because of this, TCU’s coaches had to manufacture ways to get the ball in his hands. Screens, reverses, quick passes and RPO plays were all areas where Reagor excelled. His explosiveness and ability after the catch helped him thrive in these areas. Even working through all of the inconsistency at the QB position he had at TCU, Reagor was effective because that’s who he is as a player, he finds a way to be effective.
When making moves at receiver they are always centered around the QB and elevating/making the QB’s life easier. With the Eagles, drafting Reagor was more about fit and future rather than just what Reagor can produce immediately. Yes there were options avaliable who could step in and contribute right away but Howie Roseman and Andy Weidl took the long view approach with this pick. As stated the key was finding a receiver to grow and maximize Carson Wentz. We’ve seen what Wentz can do with a respected deep threat in Torrey Smith and in one game last season we saw the damage he could do with a legitimate deep threat in DeSean Jackson. Even with the practice squad wide receivers who were deemed deep threats (Robert Davis and Deontay Burnett), Wentz was effective. Reagor matches Wentz’s skillset as a passer extremely well. Wentz is at his best extending plays and going downfield, which is where Reagor also excels. The athletic ability and downfield speed matches just what Wentz needs in a receiver. It’s clear that Wentz just need some resemblance of speed on the outside in order for him and the offense as a whole to flourish.
Reagor is exactly what this Eagles offense needs. He can be moved all over the offensive formation, in the slot, in the backfield, and on the outisde. He’s comfortable working through traffic and is best when used in space which is where the Eagles coaches excel when developing passing sets. Specifically in bunch formations where they can create mis-matches and confusion among defenders. An area where I think this pairing (Reagor-Wentz) will specifically excel is in or around the redzone. Looking at the numbers (per Pro Football Reference), in 2019 inside of the 20 yard line, Wentz completed 59.42% of his passes with 19 TDs and 0 interceptions and in his career at TCU, Jalen Reagor dropped zero passes in the redzone. At 5’10 this may be an astonishing feat to some however, when you take into account the fact that Reagor has a 42 inch vertical this becomes more understandable.
While Reagor maybe a great fit for the Eagles, he doesn’t come without his flaws. Drops were the main culprit leading up to the draft but some of that can be attributed to the talent at the QB position he suffered through. However, this is why it’s such a great pick and why there’s a sort of mutual benefit relationship. According to Pro Football Reference, Carson Wentz posted an on target throw percentage of 72.3% which ranked 6th in the league. For comparison, only 30.7% of passes to Jalen Reagor were deemed “on target”. Wentz and the Eagles offense need Reagor as much as Reagor needs Wentz and the Eagles offense. The elusiveness, speed and athleticism Reagor brings will do wonders for the creativity Doug Pederson and the offensive staff can implement into play designs and offensive sets. Likewise, the talent and skill of Carson Wentz will do wonders for Reagor’s development and push Reagor to be an even better player than he is now. The situation is truly a match made in heaven.
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