You might want to temper your expectations for Jalen Reagor’s rookie season.
The first-round pick might not even start at first.
Doug Pederson in a video conference call with Eagles reporters on Tuesday morning said that, for now, Reagor is learning just one position. Pederson indicated things were tougher this offseason without OTAs and “grass time” with rookies.
Right now, he’s gonna come in and learn one position,” Pederson said. “And he’s gonna learn from DeSean Jackson, learn everything he can.
“Obviously the playbook is extensive and we just have to see what he has taken from the offseason to training camp. Once we see his potential and his growth, then we can use him in multiple spots. One of the things that all of our receivers really have the capability of doing is moving inside, whether they’re an outside guy going inside or an inside guy going outside. We’ll keep him at one position to start and we’ll grow from there.
If Reagor is going to come in and learn behind Jackson, that means he’ll initially be the Eagles’ backup Z receiver and will eventually learn how to play in the slot and then possibly the X.
But this basically means that if Jackson is able to stay healthy in 2020, it’s going to limit Reagor’s playing time — at least at the start of the season.
This could leave the Eagles with a significant hole at the X receiver position. That’s where Alshon Jeffery and JJ Arcega-Whiteside generally play. (We haven’t seen Marquise Goodwin yet, but he seems to fit the Z better).
So if Jeffery isn’t ready for the start of the season, would the Eagles really keep Reagor as a backup behind Jackson, while starting JJAW at the X and Greg Ward in the slot?
It seems possible.
Think back to last season. While Arcega-Whiteside cross-trained at all three receiver positions, the reason the Eagles gave for his limited playing time early in the season was that he was the backup X receiver behind Jeffery and Jeffery was healthy. Back then, everyone was clamoring for JJAW to get more playing time.
It’s also worth noting that even if Reagor is strictly Jackson’s backup — and my guess is his role will grow — he’ll still likely get playing time. Jackson is 33 years old, played just one full game last season and hasn’t played a full season since 2013. Either way, Reagor will be playing as a rookie. The question is: How much?
At TCU, Reagor was a very versatile receiver, playing all three spots. In fact, Reagor said he felt like he was the most versatile receiver in the 2020 draft class.
DraftKings has Reagor’s over/under total at 650.5 yards but it’s too early to truly figure out whether the over is an attainable goal.
We’ll start to get a better idea of that come training camp in late July, when Reagor finally gets in an Eagles uniform.
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