Extra Points: Eagles Test Fans’ Patience with First-Round Pick
The Eagles have been vowing for months to get more help for quarterback Carson Wentz in the draft.
They made good on that promise Thursday by selecting TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor with the 21st overall pick in the first round.
Reagor, 5-feet-11 and 195 pounds, relied on speed and toughness to catch 43 passes for 611 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior for the Horned Frogs and also returned two punts for touchdowns. His father, Montae Reagor, played seven games for the Eagles as a defensive tackle in 2007 as part of an eight-year NFL career.
"We had an opportunity to find a players that fit us and what we were looking for," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said Thursdsay night in a teleconference. "We talked about the desire to add some speed and Jalen does that.
"There are a lot of good receivers in the draft," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in a teleconference interview. "It's like being at Dunkin' Doughnuts. There are different kinds of doughnuts and Jalen fits what we were looking for. We talked about the desire to add speed to our offense and he does that, plus he's explosive and has the ability to contribute as a returner."
Reagor provides some much-needed depth to the Eagles' wide receiver corps. DeSean Jackson was hurt most of last season, Alshon Jeffery is nursing a foot injury and has been critical of Wentz, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is coming off a disappointing rookie season. Greg Ward played well at the end of the season but is unproven.
He's also regarded as a dynamic player who can provide plays in the slot, on the outside and in the return game.
"I'm not an outside receiver or inside receiver," Reagor said in a video conference late Thursday night. "I'm a receiver. I'm a receiver. I can line up anywhere. I can run any route in the route tree. I'm an electric player. I'll make an immediate impact."
Judging by the reaction on Twitter, however, Eagles fans weren't real thrilled by the pick. They were already steamed that Dallas drafted Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb at No. 17 and were apparently upset Eagles general manager Howie Roseman took Reagor instead of LSU's Justin Jefferson, who went to Minnesota at No. 22.
They also passed up the chance to fill other needs by taking Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, who went to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 23, or LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, who went to Baltimore at No. 29.
"Obviously, at the 21st pick we spent a lot of time watching what's going on in front of us," Roseman said. "We had an opportunity to find a player that was the right fit for us."
Reagor is the sixth wide receiver drafted by the Eagles in the first round, following Mike Quick (1982), Kenny Jackson (1984), Freddie Mitchell (2001), Jeremy Maclin (2009) and Nelson Agholor (2015).
Reagor's speed and quickness are his best assets. Unlike Agholor, he's also adept at tracking deep balls and will also could make a big impact as a punt returner.
His weakness is a lack of consistency and focus. Like Agholor, he's been prone to dropped passes, which won't sit well with Eagles' fans.
"Jalen has speed and he can stretch the field," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "And for a 5-10 guy, he can elevate. I think he has the flexibility to play outside and inside. You want to find ways to get the ball in his hands."
Reagor was the fourth wide receiver drafted Thursday. Las Vegas started the run by taking Alabama's Henry Ruggs at No. 12. Denver followed by taking Ruggs' college teammate, Jerry Jeudy at No. 15. The Cowboys stuck to the Eagles with their decision to take Lamb at No. 17. After the Eagles drafted Reagor, the Vikings selected Jefferson and San Francisco traded to take Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk at No. 25.
Note: New Orleans drafted Camden native Cesar Ruiz at No. 24. Ruiz, a center from Michigan, lost his father at age 8 in 2006. His dad, also named Cesar, was hit by a car and killed while trying to help another motorist fix a flat tire on the side of a South Jersey road.
The Eagles have seven more picks in the draft, which is being conducted remotely due to coronavirus. It resumes Friday at 7 p.m. with the second round. The Eagles have the 53rd overall pick.