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Did Howie Roseman push a need for speed in drafting Jalen Reagor? | Jeff McLane


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Did Howie Roseman push a need for speed in drafting Jalen Reagor? | Jeff McLane

by Jeff McLane, Updated: April 24, 2020- 8:13 AM
Did Howie Roseman push a need for speed in drafting Jalen Reagor? | Jeff McLane

With apologies to Lightning McQueen, the Eagles had the need, the need for speed.

But did they push that need when they selected wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first round of the NFL draft?

It seemed all but a foregone conclusion that general manager Howie Roseman would steer the Eagles toward taking a receiver Thursday night. While it is never a good idea to go into a draft thinking one position, if there was a year to focus on that position, this was it.

Roseman talked about all the different flavors of receivers in this year’s class, but he said there were only two elite outside speed demons. The first — Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III — went to the Raiders at No. 12. But the second was still on the board at No. 21 and the Eagles took Reagor, before many draft analysts had slotted the TCU product to go.

"Just even talking to teams right behind us, this guy was going to go,” Roseman said during a teleconference when asked if the Eagles considered trading back. "It was hard to find this kind of speed. I say it a lot, but when you look at the overall class, sometimes medical comes into play, sometimes character comes into play. It’s not always as clean as it kind of looks.”

Ruggs was the first receiver drafted. His college teammate Jerry Jeudy went three picks later to the Broncos. CeeDee Lamb, though, was still available at No. 16. Some had considered the Oklahoma receiver the top talent at his position. Did Roseman consider moving up five spots for Lamb?

"We’re very aggressive in working the phones and having conversations with these teams and trying to figure out where we can move and when we can move,” Roseman said. "It’s got to work for both sides, obviously, but we were also very comfortable sitting here and taking a player that has a great skill set for what we’re looking for.”

The Eagles’ board will likely remain a mystery, and whether Lamb or any of the other top receivers were flagged for medical or other concerns will remain unknown for now, but it had to sting a little to see the Cowboys take Lamb at No. 17.

Still, the next three picks weren’t receivers and LSU’s Justin Jefferson — who was rated by many analysts to be one of the top four at his position — was still there for the taking. Jefferson didn’t play much outside in college. He was mostly in the slot, but many scouts believe he could play both and he actually ran a faster 40-yard dash at the combine (4.43 seconds) than Reagor (4.47).

"The Eagles really wanted speed. Reagor provides that,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on Twitter. "I just couldn’t pass up my 14th-rated player [Jefferson] for my 56th player [Reagor]. It’ll be fascinating to follow both of their careers.”


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