Eagles disappointed by Jalen Reagor, still think he has talent

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Eagles disappointed by Reagor, but don’t expect him to go anywhere originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There’s no way around it. Two years into his NFL career, Jalen Reagor has been a massive disappointment.

Even Howie Roseman can’t hide it.

“Certainly, as we head into Year 3, we expected more from Jalen at this point,” the Eagles’ general manager said during his year-end press conference on Wednesday.

“We had a chance to sit down with him after the season and had an honest conversation about the things we need to develop and the things that we can help him develop to continue his growth.”

In other words, yes, Reagor has been disappointing. Undoubtedly.

Just don’t expect the Eagles to go into the 2022 season without him.

While that will frustrate fans, it always seemed unlikely the Eagles would be willing to move on from a first-round pick after just two seasons. Heck, the Eagles brought former second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside back for Year 3 after even less production in his first two seasons. And cutting Reagor would result in over $7.8 million in dead cap space in 2022; that’s significantly more than he’d count if he’s still on the roster.

The problem with Reagor isn’t that he’s been bad for a first-round pick. It’s that he’s been bad regardless of draft status. He’s still just 23 but Reagor actually regressed in Year 2.

2020: 11 games, 31 catches, 396 yards, 1 touchdown

2021: 17 games, 33 catches, 299 yards, 2 touchdowns

When asked about his receivers on Wednesday, head coach Nick Sirianni started by praising DeVonta Smith as a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Then he praised former sixth-round pick Quez Watkins for his growth as their No. 2, saying Watkins probably deserved more opportunities but they were limited because of their run-heavy attack.

Then … finally … he got to Reagor.

“We want more production from Jalen Reagor,” Sirianni said. “He has all the talent to do so. So I like him in that No. 3 spot right now to be able to make plays because he has skill, he has talent. It’s our job as coaches to get that skill and that talent out of him so it produces on the field. And it’s our job as coaches to put him in position to succeed.

READ: Analyzing list of Eagles' free agents in 2022

“That’s a two-way street. I’m not by any means saying I’m taking all the blame or all the credit or whatever it is. Because it’s a two-way street and Jalen has to make the plays when the opportunity arises. But he does have extreme talent, for what we’re considering a No. 3 receiver, to be able to make plays.”

This was the first time Sirianni had admitted the pecking order that became obvious as the Eagles’ 2021 season went on. It seems more likely that Watkins should be the No. 3, so perhaps the Eagles will be in the market in free agency or the draft for another complement to Smith.

That second receiver, ideally, would have been Reagor. But it’s hard to see that happening.

Any way you look at this situation, it’s not ideal. The Eagles didn’t draft Reagor with the 21st overall pick to be a No. 3 receiver and they didn’t envision a scenario where fans would be clamoring for his release two years into his career.

But here we are.

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What makes the Reagor pick sting more for Eagles fans is that the Eagles bucked conventional draft thought by taking Reagor over LSU’s Justin Jefferson, who has blossomed into a legitimate star in the NFL with the Vikings. When asked previously about their decision to take Reagor over Jefferson, Roseman cited fit for their offense. Obviously, Reagor hasn’t found success under Doug Pederson or Sirianni.

So are there some lessons in this draft whiff for Roseman?

“In terms of learning from anything, we have to do that,” he said. “We have to continue to evolve. You kind of have to look at not only the things that maybe we don’t like about our decision-making, not just talking about Jalen in this situation, but talking about as a whole. But also the things that we did well. I think that’s part of continuing to grow in your job and in your profession.”