There were two top receivers in the 2020 draft class Howie Roseman expected to run sub-4.40 times in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
One was Henry Ruggs III. The other was Jalen Reagor.
Ruggs III did his part. He ran a blazing 4.27, the fastest time among all participants at the combine and was the first WR taken at No. 12. But Reagor, who ended up being the Eagles’ pick at No. 21, ran a disappointing 4.47 in Indianapolis.
“I was surprised he ran a 4.47,” Roseman said on the WIP morning show Tuesday. “I really was.”
But that still didn’t stop the Eagles from drafting Reagor. They know he’s faster than that.
That’s what their next-level numbers from GPS tracking say. A study from CBS Sports, citing data from a company called Slants, tracked game speed vs. timed speed for receivers in the 2020 draft class. Of the players in the study, Reagor at TCU had the second-fastest game speed as a ball-carrier behind only Ruggs.
Ruggs reached 21.94 mph and Reagor was second at 20.80 mph.
To put that into perspective, according to NFL NextGen Stats, just three Eagles reached faster speeds in 2019: DeSean Jackson (21.4, 20.86), Miles Sanders (21.01, 20.90) and Nelson Agholor (21.11).
The flaw in all this data — at least what we have access to — is that it tracks players only when the ball is in their hands. Reagor told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark that he feels like his speed increases when the ball is in the air.
Obviously he had that virtual pro day, which we try to time,” Roseman said. “But even more for us, we see the play speeds because we get all of this data and so you can time how fast guys are. We can get that from the league, we get that from college football.
So why did Reagor run a disappointing 4.47 time at the combine? Well, Reagor played at around 195 pounds at TCU but he put on weight for the combine and showed up at 206 pounds.
“I was heavy at the Combine; I picked up weight,” Reagor said. “I dropped weight and I ran 4.2. So all I have to say, man, like coaches tell me, like tape doesn't lie. So I mean, whether it's a 4.47, 4.28, whatever it was, I'm ready to play fast; I'm ready to make plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
And even though his 40 time was a disappointment, his 10-yard split of 1.52 seconds was in the 93rd percentile, according to ProFootball Focus. So he was still plenty explosive.
The virtual pro day Roseman was talking about happened in early April at Plex, a training facility, in Houston. According to the Houston Chronicle, the times of 4.22 and 4.28 were hand-timed by Plex owner Danny Arnold and former coach/scouting director Matt McCalmon. Reagor was back down to 197 pounds for that virtual pro day.
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It’s all in the hands of the teams now as #TCU standout @jalenreagor and Texas A&M standout @quartneydavis1 put some impressive numbers at their pro-day organized by Plex. Jalen 4.22 and 4.28 in the forty, 3.9 in the shuttle. Quartney 4.46 and 4.47 in the forty and 4.01 and 3.97 in the shuttle.
Even if you’re skeptical of Reagor’s times in the virtual pro day, it’s also probably fair to realize that he’s faster than his performance at the combine would indicate. In fact, the Eagles are banking on that.
“This guy’s not a 4.47 guy,” Roseman said. “He’s not.”
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