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Jalen Reagor Eagles

How Does Jalen Reagor Fit On 2022 Eagles?

  • Jack McKessy
  • August 2, 2022
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The Philadelphia Eagles’ future may be bright, but Philadelphia wide receiver Jalen Reagor’s future seems anything but.

Reagor certainly has not started his career in the way that he, the Eagles, or their fans have hoped. With the team’s recent additions in the offseason and the disappointing start to Reagor’s career, the receiver’s future in Philadelphia has only grown more uncertain.

There’s no way around stating the obvious: Reagor has not been good in his first couple of seasons in the NFL. Despite starting in 24 of his 28 career games with the Eagles, the 2020 first-round pick has recorded a grand total of 695 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

Part of that production issue is an inability to earn targets from his quarterbacks. In his rookie season, Philadelphia’s last with quarterback Carson Wentz, Reagor narrowly edged running back Miles Sanders in targets, with 54 to Sanders’ 52. The receiver finished the following season with just three more targets and 97 fewer yards, even though he played in all 17 games compared to just 11 as a rookie.

Of course, there are some confounding factors in play here. Wentz was abysmal in 2020, his successor, Jalen Hurts, was still getting his feet under him as a full-time starter in 2021, and—perhaps as a result—the Eagles were a very run-heavy team last year. Still, the lack of production is worrying for a former first-rounder. It’s especially disappointing when the guys who put up better numbers than Reagor in his rookie season were Travis Fulgham, a sixth-rounder the year prior, and Greg Ward, a former undrafted free agent that played in the Alliance of American Football in between unimpressive stints with the Eagles.

Dropped passes were a particularly big issue for Reagor last season. The then-second-year receiver dropped four of his 57 targets in 2021, “good” for a 7% dropped pass rate. Notably, two of those drops came on potential game-winning passes against the New York Giants in a 13-7 loss in Week 12, only drawing further scrutiny for the young receiver.

So far in training camp, that’s a problem that seems to have continued. NBC Sports’ John Clark reported on Reagor having trouble outplaying defenders in practice and continuing to drop passes in a since-deleted tweet.

If the lack of impressive production and the presence of dropped passes weren’t enough for a receiver that had high expectations as a first-round pick, there’s the fact that he’ll always be compared to the receivers taken after him in the 2020 NFL Draft. Names like Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, Tee Higgins, and Michael Pittman Jr. were all selected after Reagor and have careers that are off to much better starts.

After the offseason the Eagles have had, Reagor’s future is more uncertain than ever. Obviously, fellow receiver (and former first-round pick) DeVonta Smith is back and ready to build on a strong rookie season and Quez Watkins is another returner poised for a breakout season after a very strong sophomore campaign. But the biggest change in the receivers room was the addition of star pass-catcher A.J. Brown via a draft night trade with the Titans.

The Eagles’ receiver corps is suddenly crowded with talent, and head coach Nick Sirianni has already said that Reagor is “battling for a spot” on the team while working with the second-team offense. Given the other talented pass-catchers Philadelphia has, it’s very unlikely that Reagor will earn a spot as a starter by Week 1, if at all during the 2022 season. The question now is where he fits in.

Reagor most likely will stay with the Eagles this season barring a trade thanks to his fully guaranteed rookie contract, but he won’t be around much longer. Unless the chip on his shoulder from the addition of Brown and the strong performance from Smith brings out better play, the third-year receiver won’t be playing in Philadelphia on his fifth-year option in 2024.

Where Reagor fits in with the Eagles this year is tough to figure out since he won’t get nearly as much playing time with Brown, Smith, and Watkins in front of him on the depth chart. It’s possible he locks down a role as the team’s primary kick and punt returner after 43 returns in 2021 and continues to get a few looks rotating in as a receiver throughout the season. 

For a former first-round pick, that’s not exactly the role the Eagles were envisioning. But Philadelphia needs to get whatever production they can out of Reagor, and it sure looks like that won’t be coming as a primary pass-catcher in their offense the way things stand now.

Written By

Jack McKessy