Last month, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that first-round pick Jalen Reagor was “gonna come in and learn one position.”
Maybe there’s been a change of plans.
Because as Eagles training camp kicks off, the No. 21 pick said on Tuesday that he’s been learning multiple receiver positions in the Eagles’ offense.
They’ve just been emphasizing to me to learn X and Z and just to learn,” Reagor said. “Like I said, I pride myself on being adaptable to every situation. I feel like if I know the whole playbook rather than just X or Z, then it’ll make it easier to move me around. They’re emphasizing just to learn and take in everything.
Perhaps this was a part of the plan. Pederson said last month that once they saw Reagor’s growth they might decide to play him at other positions. Turns out they made that decision early.
When Pederson said they were going to teach Reagor one position first, he also said Reagor was going to learn behind DeSean Jackson, intimating that Reagor would be learning the Z position in the Eagles’ offense. But Reagor says he’s learning the Z (where DeSean plays) and the X (where Alshon Jeffery plays). And Reagor also has the ability to play in the slot.
Once actual practices start, we’ll find out if Reagor actually lines up at different spots.
But for now, this is an important development that could ensure that Reagor gets on the field earlier in his rookie season. Because on the same day Reagor said he’s learning both, Jeffery was placed on the Active/PUP list and Marquise Goodwin opted out of the season.
If Jeffery isn’t ready for the season opener on Sept. 13, it’ll probably be either Reagor or second-year receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside starting at the X position. After JJAW’s disappointing rookie season, fans will be eager to see the rookie.
And even though Jackson is expected to be healthy after core muscle surgery last year, he hasn’t played a full season since 2013. And on Tuesday the Eagles also lost their DeSean insurance policy when Goodwin decided to opt out of the 2020 season.
All that could mean that Reagor might be the backup at two positions in the offense and will play significant time as a rookie.
This seems like a tough year to rely on rookies after all OTAs were moved to a virtual setting, but Pederson said he thought some of his rookies were in a really good place mentally. Now, they just have to carry that over to practice.
“I feel like I learned a lot (in virtual OTAs),” Reagor said. “I pride myself on being very easily adaptable to certain things.”
The Eagles’ rookies reported to training camp last week and the rest of the team followed this week to get COVID-19 tests. It’s going to be an unusual training camp to follow an unusual offseason. Padded practices won’t even start until Aug. 17.
But Reagor will approach this season with the advice of DeSean on his mind.
“He just told me to go in with a mission on my mind, go in with a chip on my shoulder and know I can make a big contribution,” Reagor said. “It’s the reason why this organization drafted me. They believed in me.”
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