Last offseason, the Eagles selected the TCU wideout over Justin Jefferson, which was justified at the time because the organization viewed Jefferson purely as a slot receiver. Fast forward a year and it looks as though Jalen Reagor will receive the bulk of his snaps in the slot.
This is both confusing and frustrating because Jefferson was clearly considered a better prospect by the NFL. This speaks to the Philadelphia’s poor talent evaluation and their mismanagement of draft picks, which has plagued the City for years now.
Just one year after drafting Reagor, his move to the slot is welcomed as an opportunity to get the ball in the hands of a playmaker ,but Reagor was drafted to help stretch the field and take the top off defenses. He struggled throughout his rookie season because of sloppy route running and taking plays off. He was even fined for playing overweight by the team and has seemed apathetic at times.
Admittedly, Reagor’s move to the slot makes sense on paper because the Eagles do not have any proven talent at that position besides Greg Ward. My issue with his move to the slot is more philosophical, investing a first-round pick into a player that is supposed to contribute on the outside but needs to move to the slot to produce, is a serious error in talent evaluation. This is without addressing the fact that they passed on Jefferson due to perceived slot limitations, only to move their ‘better fit’ inside anyway.
The decision also clearly demonstrates what happens when organizations start forcing draft picks to fill specific needs instead of taking the best player left on their board. This lack of logic and organizational philosophy from the Eagles led to their disastrous 2020 campaign.
Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson is setting the league on fire from the outside, which is a painful realization for the Eagles, who have had to swiftly change their drafting philosophies. Although it appears that Philadelphia had a strong 2021 draft class, that may not be enough for them to escape their past if Reagor cannot improve in his sophomore season.
Reagor has notably been very tapped into his public perception, with numerous social media-related incidents occurring over the course of his first year in Philadelphia. There was a growing concern that the slew of negativity had a big impact on his mental wellbeing, with the wideout eventually blacking out his instagram and changing his bio to Í’M TAKING EVERYTHING PERSONAL’.
Whether he likes it or not, the TCU product will forever be linked with Justin Jefferson. A move inside will do nothing but add fuel to the fire.
Ultimately, I think Jalen Reagor could be successful in the slot, but this is a perfect example of why the Eagles are not an elite franchise anymore. Moving your first-round draft pick to slot should be seen as an organizational failure, especially when the best slot receiver in college football, Justin Jefferson was still on the board during the 2020 draft. While I have mostly praised the Eagles’ moves this offseason and they have a chance to be a competitive team, mistakes like this may continue to hinder their progress.
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