It’s not Jalen Reagor’s fault the Eagles drafted him. It’s not his fault he got hurt. And it’s certainly not his fault Justin Jefferson is having a monster rookie season.
But let’s be honest. None of that changed what you were thinking on Monday night watching Jefferson go off for yet another big game in a tremendous rookie season.
As a first-round pick, there was already an inherent level of pressure on Reagor and now there are players, including the guy taken the pick after him, putting up huge numbers.
Is Jefferson’s success hard for Reagor to ignore?
“I mean, that’s the only person that people bring up,” Reagor said on Tuesday. “So I mean I don’t really — like I said, it’s not for me to watch another man’s success and be like, ‘Oh, I wish I was —‘ … I mean, it is what it is. He hasn’t had any injuries, I have. I can’t watch another man’s journey. I just have to be ready to conquer mine when the time comes. Like I said, what’s life without scars? You know what I’m saying? It is what it is.”
I like that attitude.
And Reagor is right about all that. He has been injured twice and lost out on valuable time to build chemistry with Carson Wentz. And he’s played just four games so far in his rookie season.
Meanwhile, Jefferson, who was drafted at No. 22 behind Reagor at 21, has been healthy. He’s been in an offense that features him. He’s made the most of that opportunity on his way to being one of the most productive receivers — forget rookies — in the league.
But Jefferson’s success has nothing to do with Reagor as long as Reagor doesn’t let it bother him.
Because even with a limited sample size — Reagor has played in four games — we’ve seen enough good signs to think that he has a chance to be really good. He deserves a real chance to develop.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the comparisons to Jefferson are just going away. Just ask Brandon Graham about Earl Thomas or, more recently, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside about D.K. Metcalf. The only way for those comparisons to die is for Reagor to become the type of player the Eagles hoped they were drafting. It might take time.
It doesn’t help that with the pick of Reagor, the Eagles bucked conventional draft boards to take him over Jefferson, who was considered by many to be in that group of the top four receivers. Many thought Jefferson was the higher floor/lower ceiling player while Reagor was the lower floor/higher ceiling player. But through half of this season, Jefferson’s ceiling is looking pretty high.
Even when he’s not being asked about it by reporters, the comparisons to other players are unavoidable, especially for a rookie who is on social media.
Do they bother Reagor?
“I mean, it is what … that’s life,” he said. “The longer y’all bring it up I’m just going to keep giving y’all the same answers. So I mean y’all can keep bringing it up, y’all can keep saying, ‘When guys like, when guys like.’ What else do you want me to do? I can’t go make those things happen when …. You know, it’s just certain things you’ve just got to know … when your time is coming it’s going to come and when it’s meant to be, it’ll be.”
In his four games this year, Reagor has 12 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown. It’ll be fun to watch him get a chance to play in these final seven games of the season and continue to grow.
And when one of the other talented receivers in the 2020 draft class have a big game, guess what, Reagor says he will be the first person to congratulate them.
Because he’s confident in his own abilities.
“Like, I hope those guys keep shining,” Reagor said. “I know most of them, so I mean I wish the best to them and like I said I want them to keep balling, like (Jerry) Jeudy and those guys. I text those guys after every game we play. Confidence for me regardless if I have a 1,000-yard season or a 500-yard rookie [season]. I can control what I can control. So I’m going to forever be confident.”
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