The selection of Jalen Reagor at pick 21 is going to be debated for months, and maybe even years thanks to CeeDee Lamb playing him twice a year. But if there’s one thing outside of ‘speed’ the Eagles needed to find this year, it was character.
Coming off of a year where ‘Alshonymous’ sources were a running theme, Orlando Scandrick called out his former team after being cut, and Carson Wentz faced an entire offseason of criticism from anonymous sources leading up to the season to begin with, the Eagles needed to find the right kind of receiver to grow with their receiver. Perhaps someone who has faced some adversity himself.
Jalen Reagor may be a fine example of that.
In 2018, the TCU product put the world on notice. The electrifying receiver caught 72 receptions on 131 targets for 1,061 yards—14.7 yards per reception, and nine touchdowns. Reagor finished his sophomore season as a second-team All-Big 12 selection.
One year later, Michael Collins wasn’t around and Shawn Robinson transferred. Max Duggan was the replacement, a QB who threw 15 TD’s and 10 picks, completing 53% of his passes along the way.
Reagor’s production took a dip as a result, catching 43 of his 88 targets for 611 yards, 14.2 yards per reception, and five touchdowns. But as opposed to toxic traits and selfish emotions, Reagor understood the bigger picture.
“I mean, it was just a learning experience” He told reporters shortly after being drafted. “I feel like it just gave me a chance to show what type of real teammate, real person I am. I mean, it was tough, but it was something that I wouldn’t make an excuse for. It was just something, you know, that’s how the game goes sometimes. I feel like it made me a better player, a better person, a better teammate in the end.”
Only adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Reagor’s father, Montae Reagor, spent a season with the Eagles in 2008.
“It’s a family environment. They love football. They love their Eagles.” Reagor responded when asked about the city. “It’s just a sigh of relief, man, like all this hard work you put in for this moment. My whole life I’ve told my people, my family, I’m going to be a first rounder someday. It’s just crazy. I’m so blessed to have it come true, and then what greater organization to go to [than the] Philadelphia Eagles. So, I’m very excited and ready to go.”
When asked about his quarterback to be, there was a stark contrast between Duggan and a man who should’ve won the 2017 MVP award. It’s a prospect that naturally excited the first-round selection.
“I mean, it’s Carson Wentz. I feel like his name speaks for itself. And just the fact that I get to be alongside those guys now. It’s just a surreal feeling. Like, I watched Carson Wentz. I watched him play. I’m like, ‘Wow, this dude is amazing,’ and now he’s my quarterback. So, it’s just, like I said, a surreal feeling, and ultimately, it’s a blessing.”
Reagor’s on-field production and skillset will bring up discussions of their own, but this is a man who fits what the Eagles were looking for in terms of a player who wants to learn and grow, not cast his own shadow. This pick makes more and more sense with every second that passes…and if that continues to be the case, this will be a very exciting new era of Eagles football.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports