The decision to draft Jalen Reagor has turned out to be a controversial one. Not only did the Philadelphia Eagles pass on Justin Jefferson in the process (who ended up breaking all sorts of rookie receiving records), but a handful of other WRs taken after Reagor outperformed the Eagles wideout as well. Guys like Brandon Aiyuk, Chase Claypool, Tee Higgins, and Michael Pittman Jr. all look like better pass-catching prospects in the immediate future.
Throw in the fact that Reagor’s social media usage throughout the season depicted someone who isn’t particularly happy to be in Philadelphia, and it all feels like things are spiraling towards another sunken first round pick.
However, to Reagor’s benefit, he’s going to get a fresh start in 2021. Operating under the guidance of an entire new offensive coaching staff while catching passes from a new starting quarterback, Reagor’s odds of “breaking out” in 2021 have definitely increased this offseason.
Philadelphia Eagles will try to “force” Jalen Reagor to breakout in 2021.
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While a hypothetical, elite Jalen Hurts/Jalen Reagor connection is possible (albeit unlikely), the real factor to the 2021 season that intrigues me is that of Nick Sirianni and his newly constructed offensive coaching staff. Hailing from a Colts system that has done an exceptional job eliciting production from their wide receivers in recent years, Reagor could be “forced” to have a breakout season based on pure volume of targets and usage.
In 2020, three Colts receivers had at least 60 targets and 500 receiving yards – both of which are greater than Reagor’s rookie numbers (54 targets, 391 receiving yards). In 2019, despite operating with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, the Colts still had at least three pass-catchers see 60 targets, with two of them recording over 500 receiving yards. The one player who didn’t record 500 yards that season, Jack Doyle, recorded 448 – which would still be a career-high for Jalen Reagor.
In 2018 with Andrew Luck running the show, the numbers are even more exaggerated. Five separate pass-catchers saw at least 50 targets, and T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron both saw 100+. Hilton posted an eye-popping 1,270 receiving yards that season and Ebron logged a career-high 13 touchdowns.
Needless to say, when Sirianni’s offensive scheme is at its best, it involves the football being spread around to receiving targets at a very high volume. While the Philadelphia Eagles won’t have the luxury of utilizing an Andrew Luck/Philip Rivers type talent at quarterback in 2021, the offensive philosophy should remain the same.
Lots of touches for lots of different weapons, with Jalen Reagor obviously being included.
Even if the Philadelphia Eagles go ahead and draft someone like Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith with their first round pick, Reagor should still find himself in a situation to blow past his rookie season numbers. Whether it’s receiving the ball via more screens and WR runs, or getting a more frequent number of deep targets down the field, the former TCU wideout should absolutely be in a position to succeed this season.
2020 was a rough year for everyone, so I’m okay with giving Reagor a bit of a “pass” for his struggles, especially when you take into account the multiple injuries he battled with. However, moving forward into his sophomore campaign, he’ll definitely be in as position to “breakout” – whether he likes it or not.