Philadelphia Eagles: Comparing Jalen Reagor to Nelson Agholor in Year 2

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Jalen Reagors‘ rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t particularly noteworthy.

Sure, he had a few really nice plays, like a 55-yard reception in Week 1 versus Washington, but after losing five of the next six bouts to a torn ligament in his thumb, Reagor returned to an offense deep in the mud that never quite regained its footing, even after then-head coach Doug Pederson made a quarterback swap midway through Week 13.

But hey, it’s cool; plenty of young receivers take some time to adjust to the NFL level. While it would have been nice to get a Justin Jefferson-esque season out of the player selected one spot earlier, many a fan were willing to wait and see what Reagor’s future held before making a definitive judgment about his career trajectory one way or another.

… and then the first 11 games of the 2021 NFL season happened.

Despite being the Eagles’ second-most targeted receiver behind DeVonta Smith, Reagor’s role has become smaller and smaller with each passing month and has now become relegated to a gadget guy role in a run-heavy offense that predominantly picks up yards through the air via its top two targets.

Could Jalen Reagor’s time with the Philadelphia Eagles be rapidly approaching its endpoint or are we once again not quite seeing the forest through the tree on the development of a young wide receiver? How do his second-year stats compare to, say Nelson Agholor, another later-first round wideout who is now arguably the very well-paid top receiver for a very good New England Patriots offense? Let’s find out.

Jalen Reagor doesn’t look great when compared to fellow Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round receiver Nelson Agholor.

Nelson Agholor and Jalen Reagor actually had fairly similar situations heading into their second professional season.

Both were drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles – albeit, by different people – to immediately step in and contribute as a starter, both played for non-SEC teams that changed quarterbacks midway through their three-year tenures, and both had to learn a new offense from Year 1 to 2 thanks to the firing of Chip Kelly, the hiring of Doug Pederson, the firing of Doug Pederson, and the hiring of Nick Sirianni.

Like Agholor, Reagor was drafted in the early 20s to play a very specific role in an established offense but had to pivot in his second season to a role he wasn’t initially intended to fill, with Agholor becoming a flanker instead of Jeremy Maclin 2.0, and Reagor kicking it inside to play in the slot, a role he almost never played during his final season at TCU.

So how did Agholor fare from Year 1 to 2?


While Aggie caught more passes, had a slightly higher catch percentage, and recorded more yards over the first 11 games of the 2016 season than the 2015 iteration – for the sake of consistency – his average yards per catch dropped considerably from 11.8 to 5.3 and his efficiency in the offense wasn’t quite as expected. In a weird twist of fate, Agholor actually had the same number of touchdowns and fumbles in our two measuring periods – one apiece – but as a sophomore, he at least didn’t lose said fumble, which is an improvement.

Now granted, Agholor closed out his season strong, increasing his yards per reception to 10.14 thanks to a 47-yard performance versus the New York Giants, but in the grand scheme of things, his second season left more questions than answers.

And how about Reagor? How has he been holding up?

Worse across the board.

Unlike Agholor, who saw his yards, receptions, and targets increase from Year 1 to 2, Reagor has has eight fewer catches, 16 fewer targets, and 226 fewer yards through 11 games. To make matters worse, Reagor’s yards per catch have dropped precipitously too, from 12.8 to 7.4, and his average targets per game went from five in September to two in November, including a one-target game versus the Week 9.

Reagor’s usage has gotten so dire that the team relegated him to return duties in the hopes of stringing together a few good games and maybe, just maybe lighting a spark under the former Horned Frog’s behind.

That hasn’t worked either.

No, instead, Reagor has looked increasingly disinterested in his duties and may eventually get replaced in that role too, maybe by a player like Jason Huntley while Jordan Howard is out.

Considering Sirianni’s early reliance on screens, most of which went to Quez Watkins, Reagor’s offensive absence has been concerning, to say the least.

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Nelson Agholro didn’t really find his footing until Year 3, when he was moved into the slot and hauled in 62 passes for 768 yards. Then he lost it again in 2019, re-found it in 2020, and now looks like a legit starting-caliber outside NFL wide receiver. The point? Some players take a little longer to develop, others go from good to bad to good, and others still simply suffer a failure to launch. For sake of both the Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Reagor, let’s hope the 22-year-old receiver falls into the first category.