For Philadelphia Eagles fans around the world, getting back to prominence is of the utmost importance in 2021. The Eagles have won just 22 games over the past three seasons, a number that averages out to roughly seven wins a year. In other words, since winning Super Bowl LII, the Eagles have been on a run of mediocrity that hasn’t been deemed acceptable by their demanding fan base. For the rest of us, it’s been a stark reminder of how quickly life can change in the NFL.
While talk of the Eagles and how they can improve this season has largely been centered on new head coach Nick Sirianni and second-year signal-caller Jalen Hurts, there could be another player ready to make a name for himself in the City of Brotherly Love.
The player I’m referring to is Jalen Reagor.
Reagor’s rookie season wasn’t kind to him—and neither were the analysts who follow the Eagles closely. Expectations were high after the Eagles used a first-round pick on Reagor, and rightfully so. The team was starved for talent at the wideout position and hoped Reagor was the answer to their desperate situation. It wasn’t to be, as Reagor wrapped up his rookie year by posting a disappointing 31 receptions for a measly 396 yards and a single touchdown. What made Reagor’s 2020 campaign all that more disappointing for Eagles fans is that he was selected just one pick before Justin Jefferson, which ignited a hypothetical “what if”' among the fan base (and probably the front office, too) after Jefferson set the NFL record for the most receiving yards (1,400) by a rookie in modern NFL history. Ouch.
But what’s done is done, and the Eagles must now focus on Reagor and his development. The good news is that there’s a glimmer of hope. Reports out of Eagles camp have been overwhelmingly positive when it comes to how Reagor has been performing as of late. His head coach is starting to take notice. “I really like the development that’s happened,” head coach Nick Sirianni recently said.
When pondering the possibility of a Reagor breakout season, it’s not difficult to envision it becoming reality. Targets in the passing game shouldn’t be a big problem. Reagor will have to share the ball with the likes of DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Myles Sanders, but in the grand scheme of things, there’s little in the form of proven talent here. Nobody mentioned has earned the right to demand the ball on a nearly every-down basis.
It would be silly to write Reagor off. After all, he just turned 22 years old and is still the receiver with 4.4 speed that showed a dynamic ability to get vertical and leave defensive backs in the dust at TCU.
The onus of getting Reagor to play with more confidence in 2021 (an issue that plagued him a year ago) will fall on the shoulders of Sirianni and new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. If Reagor can carry the momentum he’s been building in recent weeks over with him to the regular season, then he seems primed to serve as one of the league’s biggest breakout stars.
Although Reagor may be an afterthought for many outside of Philadelphia right now, that may no longer be the case in a few week’s time.
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