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What the experts said about Reagor before the NFL draft


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What the experts said about Reagor before the NFL draft


A couple weeks ago, we looked back at how a variety of NFL draft analysts evaluated J.J. Arcega-Whiteside before the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft.

It was so much fun we figured we’d make it a semi-regular feature around here, and today we take a look at what the scouts and analysts were saying about another wide receiver.

The Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, making him the fourth receiver taken out of 35 two years ago.

It has not gone well.

Of 124 wide receivers drafted in any round since 1970 who’ve started at least 24 games in their first two seasons, Reagor’s 695 yards ranks 117th.

Now, maybe Reagor takes off in Year 3. If he’s even here. Stranger things have happened. I can’t think of any but they probably have. But so far, Reagor has been a monumental disappointment.

It’s interesting looking back at what the scouts said before the draft in April of 2020 because while they didn’t all see Reagor as a slam-dunk 1st-round pick, the scouts’ pre-draft evaluations were way more positive than you might think.

I included the analyst’s name when it was listed. Most of these blurbs have been edited for space, but I tried to accurately capture the writer’s general impressions of Reagor. This isn’t meant to embarrass anybody. All these writers clearly studied a lot of film and did their homework. But sometimes you just don’t know.

Charlie Campbell, Walter Football: "Reagor is a speed demon who is a true home run hitter with mismatch speed. He’s a threat to score anytime he touches the ball, similar to DeSean Jackson, Marquise 'Hollywood' Brown or Will Fuller. Reagor uses his speed to create separation and shows a nice ability to track the ball downfield. For a speed receiver who lacks size, he looks comfortable with defenders around him and does not seem to get afraid of hits coming his direction. Reagor is worthy of being a late 1st-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he probably will get selected in the 2nd round. He could be a game-changing receiver as a pro.”

Comment: Yeah, I always think of D-Jack when I watch Reagor. DeSean had more yards this year at 35 years old getting cut in the middle of the season and playing for two teams and playing 450 fewer snaps than Reagor had as a starting WR2.

Eric Eiger, Pro Football Focus: "Reagor is one of the more interesting prospects in the entire draft. In fact, our athleticism metric, which combines various combine metrics using principal component analysis and forecasts how this combination of new variables projects to PFF grades at the NFL level, has never given a receiver a better grade than it gave Reagor.”

Comment: I read this and re-read this about 100 times. If PFF’s athleticism metric has never given a WR a better grade than it gave Reagor, maybe it’s time for PFF to change the athleticism metrics formula?

Joshua Hong, Music City Miracles: "With his elite long speed and ability to make people miss in the open field, Reagor is a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball. He can be used in a gadget manner by giving him jet sweeps, screens, shallow crossers, or even a hand off from the running back position. Whatever way you can, it is best to give him the ball as much as possible.”

Comment: I can’t get over "a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball.” Because he’s exactly the opposite. Reagor’s 10.9 yards-per-catch ranks 166thof 170 WRs since 1970 who’ve caught at least 50 passes.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: "The production is not where you'd want it, but, man, you can see him move and he's explosive, he's a fluid athlete. He'll go up and make some big-time catches, contested catches, play above the rim. But then he just has a ton of drops. 

So he's got to sort the drops. He's gifted as a returner but then he's got a bunch of muffed punts. There's some people that really like him and some people that are down on him. I'm somewhere in the middle. He's my 56th player but he's my 10threceiver, and I know some teams that think he's the fifth receiver. It wouldn't be stunning to see him find his way either into the back of one or very early in round No. 2.”

Comment: The always-perceptive Jeremiah wasn’t totally captivated by Reagor but did see some positives. If he was the 56 player taken it would have still been a terrible pick but at least not a catastrophe.

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: "Reagor is a fan favorite, but there are concerns with drops, focus and limited routes. However, his potential as a speedy threat with the ball in his hands or working as a vertical option is intriguing. He could dominate in a scheme that lets him work down the field and highlights his speed and agility.”

Comment: A number of these analysts understood Reagor’s limitations but were also intrigued by his potential. As it turned out, the limitations pretty much erased all the potential

Asher Molk, Apex Fantasy Football: "All in all, Jalen Reagor screams 1st-round pick. If the depth and quality of this wide receiver class was not so epic, he would be being discussed as a likely top-20 pick. However, it is looking entirely likely he falls into Day 2 of the draft. At worst, he seems like he would be a top-tier WR2 on an elite passing offense and would probably slot in as the WR1 on a large number of teams at this very moment. Jalen Reagor is a future stud wide receiver.”

Comment: I give Asher an awful lot of credit for not retroactively just deleting this. I would have!

NFL Draft Network: "Jalen Reagor is one of the most dynamic receiving prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Reagor's skill set fits best when projecting forward into a vertical passing offense as a Z-receiver, where he can defeat press coverage, attack down the field and force defenses to respect his speed or pay the consequences. Reagor brings explosive burst and simultaneous control on his stems to carry himself for separation — he's got upside to work inside as a slot receiver as well. NFL starter.”

Comment: I don’t even recognize the player he described.

NFL Mocks: "Jalen Reagor is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. The now-former TCU Horned Frog is widely known for his elite speed and would be a serious get for a team looking for a deep threat. That being said, while he does show flashes of making physical plays, there are times particularly vs. the run where he is overpowered by stronger defenders. His hands are solid overall, but there are times on film where he drops some easy throws. Feistier corners with speed to match him will probably give him trouble, as there are a few times on film where defenders will knock the ball out of his hands. Reagor has struggled with losing the ball in post-catch situations, where the defender will knock the ball straight out causing him to fumble. … But he still remains one of the more promising players in the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Comment: This is a weird one because the anonymous analyst correctly recognized many of Reagor’s deficiencies but still called him one of the more promising players in the draft.

Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network: "Explosive skill player who lends a hand as a receiver and return specialist as well as on reverses. Quickly and fluidly releases off the line of scrimmage, has a burst that he turns on in a single step and makes opponents play back on their heels. Possesses quick, strong hands and snatches the ball out of the air away from his frame. Runs solid routes, fires into breaks and separates from opponents. Displays himself to be a terrific vertical threat, tracks the pass in the air and reaches back to grab the ball in stride. … Does not always come away with the difficult reception and drops some catchable throws. Struggles in battles and gets beaten down by opponents. Highly rated by some, Reagor is a solid receiver who should go in the second day of the draft and produce at the next level as a slot wideout and return specialist.”

Comment: Pauline did correctly recognize that Reagor didn’t belong in the 1stround, but obviously the production he expected hasn’t been there.

Pro Football Network: "Reagor is commonly stamped outside of the top five wide receivers in this draft class, but after watching the film, I have to question why that is. Sure, Reagor has some drop issues and may not be the most polished route runner, but this is a guy who has dynamic skill set meant to live and thrive in the modern NFL. It is not like he is a bad route runner, either. Reagor can put guys in a blender; he just has to do that consistently and improve each year. Reagor’s speed, yards after catch ability, ability to win at all three levels of the field, and route running ability all come together to create a pretty dynamic prospect. This is a guy who is going to be an electric play-maker and a big-time contributor. Reagor is a legitimate first-round talent.”

Comment: The blender thing? Not exactly sure what it means, but I’m pretty sure he hasn’t done that.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Fantasy: "Reagor is a smaller but rocked up and incredibly slippery, blazing fast wideout who plays bigger than his size thanks to high-quality ball-tracking and jump-ball skills in traffic. There are some concentration drops on Reagor's film which are, in a way, counteracted by a handful of high-point grabs with coverage on him down the field. His super-smooth movements look so effortless -- both as a route runner and after the catch -- as is the case with his acceleration down the field. Reagor is a natural separator at all levels of the field and provides return ability.Randall Cobb will be a common comp, but Reagor is a bit bigger and looks more explosive when you compare the pair's jumping ability. In a good situation like Cobb found himself in Green Bay, Reagor has the potential to put up seasons comparable to Cobb's best. Guys like Tyler Lockett and Stefon Diggs also represent high-end comps for Reagor.”

Comment: About that Reagor-Diggs comparison…. At his current pace of 347 yards per season, Reagor would need 21 seasons to catch Diggs’ production through seven years.

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: "Reagor is a smooth athlete with blazing speed who has more playmaking talent than receiver skill, and play-callers need to account for that when determining how to utilize him. He's electric with the ball in his hands, so getting it to him quickly rather than asking him to consistently make plays for himself as a ball-winner could be crucial. When 2019 is balanced against his 2018, the grade and projection begin to climb with a versatile receiver who's able to spice the offensive gumbo.”

Comment: Zierleim perfectly described how the Eagles have tried to use Reagor, getting him the ball quickly in creative ways. It’s been a disaster.


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That write up by Eiger (PFF) should serve as a huge lesson as to why analytics shouldn't weigh so heavily on these types of decisions.  Sometimes you just need to focus on what your eyes see, what they player looks like on film, what kind of production they had (and compare it to the level of competition they faced).  Unfortunately with Lurie at the top of the totem pole, I highly doubt that will ever be the case here since he is such a proponent of analytics.  I'll bet analytics also said JJAW was going to be a fantastic player at this level.  


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2 hours ago, time2rock said:

That write up by Eiger (PFF) should serve as a huge lesson as to why analytics shouldn't weigh so heavily on these types of decisions.  Sometimes you just need to focus on what your eyes see, what they player looks like on film, what kind of production they had (and compare it to the level of competition they faced).  Unfortunately with Lurie at the top of the totem pole, I highly doubt that will ever be the case here since he is such a proponent of analytics.  I'll bet analytics also said JJAW was going to be a fantastic player at this level.  


Both Reagor and JAWW had very good scouting reports and the media had them ranked high......so there are a couple of questions that should be answered:

1)  Why did ALL 32 teams pass on DK Metcalf once and 31 pass on him Twice?  Everybody like to jump all over the eagles about this, but apparently the whole NFL didn't want to take him in the 1st or 2nd round.  So why?

2) Is the scouting of these players SO FAR OFF or was Pedersen's coaching staff so bad that they couldn't get anything out of JAWW since he was drafted or Reagor's first year?  What does Siriani and Morehead think about them?  Why did Sirianni keep JAWW this year when there seemed to be other options?    

3) Scouts have to take into consideration a lot of factors......what looks great in college doesn't always translate to the pros.  Route running for example.....guys can be sloppy in college and get by on speed to create separation....something a lot harder in the pros.  So is it the scouting criteria and methods or is it Howie overruling the scouting recommendations and taking who HE wants?

There is also the question of the play of the QBs the last 2 seasons.  Wentz was simply terrible and Hurts was a 2 look maximum QB......and both QBs had trouble going quickly thru progressions, which limits opportunities for 3rd and 4th options.  Now granted, when reagor and JJAW got those opportunities, they had some costly drops.....but 3rd and 4th options are still a very important facet of a passing game.

I'm not making a case for or against JAWW or Reagor.......I just wonder why 2 guys rated high by scouts and media have underperformed so much?  It's too simple minded to just say they suck, which most philly fans resort to, but why have they not developed at all?

I think Aaron Morehead is a good coach and can get the eagles receiving corp to be very dangerous and effective, but he's not throwing the ball. and regardless of what happens to JJAW and/or Reagor, until the eagles QBs can quickly and efficiently go thru their progressions, the passing game will be severely limited.

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