It didn’t take very long for first-round pick Jalen Reagor to impress DeSean Jackson.
“Oh man, Jalen, interesting cat,” Jackson said on Wednesday, speaking for the first time since last season. “He’s a young guy with a lot of confidence.”
Even though Jackson is 33 and Reagor is just 21, they’re already getting along great. Now entering his 13th NFL season, Jackson has become a veteran leader among the receivers. He knows potential when he sees it.
And there’s no one with more upside than Reagor, the 21st overall pick out of TCU.
“Since Day 1, I saw his confidence level and he came in, nothing was too big for him,” Jackson continued. “He came in, he earned his respect, he put in the work and he’s made plays. I see a lot of upside to him. One thing I can tell you about him is he’s got heart and he’s got confidence. A lot of that other stuff, we can figure that out later. You give me heart, you give me effort and dedication, we can work on everything else. I think he has all the right tools."
Those are some of the same reasons the Eagles really liked Reagor. Sure, he has all the athleticism and explosion they wanted from a first-round receiver, but he also has the work ethic and willingness to take coaching to get the most out of his physical traits.
During practices this summer at training camp, Reagor and Jackson spent a lot of time together going over routes and punt return duties.
While Reagor isn’t the same player as DeSean, there are certainly things that he can take from his game. There is perhaps no better deep ball tracker in NFL history than Jackson. And while Reagor isn’t the same kind of deep threat, he’s explosive in his own ways.
Jackson already had a key bit of advice for Reagor.
“He just told me to go in with a mission on my mind,” Reagor said this offseason. “Go in with a chip on my shoulder, and just know that I can make a big contribution. It’s the reason why this organization drafted me. They believed in me. Don’t just wait at the back, just go ahead and step in now."
Yes, the Eagles are going to rely on Reagor this season. Even though his status for Week 1 is very much in question with a shoulder injury, there’s growing optimism that he’ll be ready for Week 2. And there’s a very good chance Reagor will be the starter opposite Jackson whenever he’s healthy.
During training camp, there was no reason to think that Reagor won’t be able to contribute immediately, even after a most unusual offseason. He consistently made plays in every practice.
Now, Jackson is looking forward to watching that carry over to Sundays.
“It’s good to get him back out there hopefully this week if his shoulder holds up to it,” Jackson said, “because obviously having more weapons out there is better for Carson (Wentz) and better for our team. The more weapons, the more the defense is going to have to worry about us. So appreciate it and look forward to Sunday."