Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Reagor is making waves this summer

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

One catch doesn’t make a career.

It doesn’t define a season or even a summer, but for a player looking to find their NFL footing, one catch can be all it takes to get some confidence, excitement, and energy to make even more catches down the line.

Need proof? Look no further than the signature play of Odell Beckham Jr., a catch so impressive that it is just called “the catch” in a sport where literally thousands of catches are recorded every weekend of the regular season.

While Beckham’s rookie season wasn’t exactly bad before his Week 12 performance against the New York Giants, as he’d recorded 100-plus yards in two of his previous three games, his one-handed catch, which was initially flagged because it was so improbable, turned the former first-round pick into a certified NFL superstar and eventual Madden cover star.

Why is this relevant? Well, because Jalen Reagor just made his own incredible improbable “spectacular catch” at the Philadelphia Eagles‘ training camp that might just send him down a path of plus play as a 22-year-old NFL sophomore.

Wait, is that Darius Slay in coverage? My goodness, what a wonderful development indeed.

Jalen Reagor is already turning heads with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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To say Jalen Reagor’s rookie season was a disappointment is a bit of an understatement.

The 22nd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Reagor finished out the 2020 season with the 12th most receiving yards and 17th most receiving touchdowns of any receiver selected in his class, trailing behind everyone from fellow first-round picks like Jerry Jeudy and Brandon Aiyuk to Day 3 selections like Darnell Mooney, Gabriel Davis, and even that wide receiver in Minnesota – you know the one – who led all rookies with 1,400 receiving yards and finished second in touchdowns with seven.

Granted, Reagor’s season was limited to only 11 games after spending Weeks 3-7 on IR, but for a team in desperate need of a true blue number one receiver, getting 422 yards from scrimmage and two fumbles from a player heralded for his eclectic ability to make plays with the ball in his hands felt fairly soul-crushing.

Sidebar: Even if you don’t like how a player performs on the field, please don’t bully them on social media. That’s beyond uncool and only plays into Philly’s bad reputation as a not-great place to play.

Fortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles look like they now have a number one receiver in place in DeVonta Smith, whose game is so gosh darn nice it forced Howie Roseman to draft him 10th overall despite Reagors’ presence on the roster and players like Justin Fields and Micah Parsons still on the board.

But where does that leave Reagor? Will he be relegated to the slot, as was initially reported earlier this summer, or could the emergence of players like Quez Watkins relegate Reagor to the outside, where he’ll be competing with John Hightower and a weirdly resurging JJ Arcega-Whiteside for playing time?

Something tells me Reagor is going to thrive sans the exceptionally bright spotlight of being the guy in the Eagles receiving corps and could double his rookie numbers in a hybrid inside-out offensive role as the 1b to Smith 1a.

I mean think about it, Nick Sirianni’s best offensive weapon in Indianapolis was T.Y. Hilton, a speedy receiver with a game much closer to Reagor than Smith. While every early indication out of camp is that Jalen Hurts has been targeting his middle-of-the-field options early and often during his first season under Sirianni – which makes sense considering Smith’s injury and the strength of his tight ends group – Reagor should remain a big-play threat capable of breaking out something special on a mundane screen or having a play drawn up to manufacture a massive gain.

Considering Doug Pederson’s, um, unwillingness to highlight his players’ strengths and shade their weaknesses, early indications of Sirianni’s more open approach could help to make a player like Reagor shine in a way he just wasn’t able to last season.

You saw that catch, right? Maybe Darius Slay has lost a step, but maybe, just maybe, Reagor has put everything together and preparing to turn heads.

Next. Jordan Howard’s time in Miami sounds crazy. dark

Who knows, maybe I’m reading a bit too deep into this. Maybe Jalen Reagor will falter this fall or will be an offensive afterthought who gets targeted less than four times a game like he was last season under Doug Pederson, but do you know what? I don’t want to deal in negativities at this point of the summer. I mean, come on, the preseason is right around the corner, and for all we know, the Philadelphia Eagles could shoot out of the gates guns blazing and secure a playoff berth like oh so many other teams under first-year head coaches have across NFL history. Why not hang onto that hope for a few weeks more before the reality of the team’s situation sinks in? Cowabunga, dude.