Jalen Reagor rose above three defenders, snatched the ball out of midair and ran into the end zone for 17-yard touchdown.
Sure, it was garbage time.
But it was still an impressive play from the former first-round pick late in the loss in Vegas. And it’s the kind of play that makes him such a frustrating player seven games into his second NFL season.
Because there’s some talent hidden inside him. We’ve seen it in glimpses, even dating back to training camp, when he made a couple spectacular catches that had some folks hoping he was about to realize his potential, that he would sidestep the bust label and make the Eagles look at least somewhat justified for taking him with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft.
But that just hasn’t happened.
Through seven games this year, Reagor is still a disappointment. And in the last month, he’s become even more of an afterthought in the Eagles’ offense.
“I don’t know,” Reagor said about his lack of targets. “That’s not a question I can answer, but I’m doing my job to the best of my ability. That’s what I gotta keep doing. And when opportunities come, just make them when I come my way.”
Early in the season, while his production wasn’t great, the Eagles were still clearly making a concerted effort to get their former first-round pick involved. But over the last four games, his targets and his production have dropped dramatically.
First three weeks: 19 targets, 13 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD
Last four weeks: 11 targets, 6 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD
Reagor is on pace to have a season with 46 catches for 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. To put it simply: That’s not good enough. It’s not good enough for a No. 2 receiver and it’s certainly not good enough for a first-round pick.
When the Eagles devise game plans, they’re not concentrating on Reagor. They first want to get the ball to Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith. When the offense is struggling and possessions are limited, Reagor is one of the odd men left out.
“I guess I just haven’t been able to hit him or we just haven’t connected on many of them,” Jalen Hurts said.
Reagor has at least become the Eagles’ top punt and kick returner and he’s shown some ability on special teams … but that isn’t enough.
Give credit to Reagor for staying engaged in games when he isn’t getting targets. At least he’s done that.
“I’m still out there,” Reagor said. “When the ball came at the end of the game, I was (ready). You have to because you never know. You don’t want to be sulking because the time he do throw it, you have to make a play. It’s not hard to do.”
But this is a pretty low bar. Reagor would be getting more targets if he deserved them or if he had shown an ability to make something happen.
To be fair, the Eagles’ offense as a whole has seemed broken for a lot of this season. The play-calling has been poor and the play from the starting quarterback has left plenty to be desired too. But Smith has still managed to have 32 catches for 406 yards this season. Those numbers aren’t elite, but he’s been productive.
Reagor has not.
In fact, Smith has already had four games out of seven with over 60 receiving yards. Reagor has played in 18 games and his career-high is still 55 yards.
When Reagor watches tape, he feels like he’s a better player than he was as a rookie, that he’s running every route better than he was a year ago.
But he still clearly has a long way to go.
“I need to get better at everything,” Reagor said. “That’s forever going to be the motto.”
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