Jalen Reagor’s rookie season hasn’t gone to plan but the 21-year-old thinks he’s going to leave it as a stronger player and person.
“Just been a test. Trials and tribulations,” Reagor said on Thursday. “I would say it was a lot of good things just to build my character. I feel like everything happened for a reason.”
The Eagles took Reagor with the 21st pick back in April and it’s been a disappointing rookie season for the draft pick from TCU.
Reagor suffered a shoulder injury during training camp and then he suffered a thumb injury during the season. Ultimately, he missed five games in the middle of the season with that thumb injury — who knows how his year would look if he didn’t miss any time — but he wasn’t great even when he was on the field.
In 10 games this year, with the 11th coming Sunday night, Reagor has 30 catches for 381 yards and 1 touchdown.
In late October, Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead said he thought a breakout game was coming for Reagor but it never did. Reagor’s best game since his injury was a four-catch, 52-yard performance against Cleveland.
“It wasn’t enough,” Reagor said. “It wasn’t enough for the team, it wasn’t enough personally. Just gotta keep improving. Sometimes you gotta look yourself in the mirror and you see where you can improve. That’s all you can do is incline and that’s what I look to do.”
As disappointing as Reagor’s season was in a vacuum, it’s even more disappointing if you start comparing his production to the production of other receivers in this draft class. Eight receivers taken after Reagor have more catches, eight have more yards and 12 have more touchdowns.
The one that hurts Eagles fans the most is Justin Jefferson, who was taken the pick after Reagor and became a Pro Bowler as a rookie in Minnesota, catching 79 passes for 1,267 yards and 7 touchdowns.
But Reagor isn’t interested in comparisons because, as he said, everyone is in a different situation. That’s true.
Reagor in 2020 was in a situation with a broken offense, poor quarterback play and he suffered two injuries.
“When you go through things, it builds you up,” he said. “I feel like my lows are going to prepare me for my highs. I’m not worried. This is my first year. If I’m going to sit here and bash myself about one, not even a complete year. I mean, I’m looking to play years. So I’ll be just fine.”
The Eagles hope he’ll be fine. Because they desperately need young and talented players on this roster. They can’t afford to miss on players in early rounds, especially the first round.
All this isn’t to say that Reagor isn’t talented or that he’ll end up being a bust. No one really knows just yet. And when you try to evaluate his season, you have to take into account the two “one in a million” injuries he suffered.
At least he’s had a positive outlook the whole time.
“It don’t rain forever. It was mental,” Reagor said. “If you’re going to let one of those things define you, then you’re in it for the wrong reason. That’s a part of the game that you can’t control.”
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