NFL expert defends Eagles decision to select Jalen Reagor over Jefferson

Jalen Reagor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jalen Reagor (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

One of the NFL’s brightest minds defended the Eagles’ decision to select Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in the most recent draft, and you’ll want to know what he had to say.

By now, if you’re like most of the Philadelphia Eagles fans on the planet, you aren’t just familiar with Fran Duffy, you’re always waiting on his film breakdowns and podcasts to hear his take on all things “Birds”. Recently, on his Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast, he welcomed NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell to talk about the 2020 Eagles draft class. As you might imagine Jalen Reagor‘s name came up.

Since his selection, questions have been asked about whether or not he truly possesses the breakaway speed that everyone says he does (he does), whether or not he was drafted too high (he wasn’t), and if he would have been available had Philly waited to the second round to get there hands on him (probably not).

Some have even asked why the “Birds” didn’t trade up for the highly-touted wide receiver prospect CeeDee Lamb. We’ve since learned that Eagles vice president and general manager Howie Roseman did, indeed, attempt to move up to acquire Lamb but was unable to.

We’ve also learned that, as the NFL Draft approached, Reagor was climbing on a few boards. The 4.47-second 40-yard dash time and 42-inch vertical that he displayed at the most recent NFL Scouting Combine was still fresh on a few minds, so had it not been for the fact that Justin Jefferson was still available, who some had graded higher, this pick would probably make perfect sense, at least to a few more people than it does now.

Was Philly wise to select Reagor just one slot before the Minnesota Vikings took Jefferson at 22? Mr. Jefferson sure doesn’t think so, and he’s vowed to make life miserable for everyone who passed on him. The aforementioned Cosell defends the selection of Reagor. Here’s what he had to say about that.

"At the end of the day, we knew that the Eagles were one of the slowest teams in the league going down the stretch last year, and (they) actually did an unbelievable job (in) getting to the playoffs with what they did offensively, given their limitations. It was clear that they wanted to go for speed, and that was the reason they made Reagor a pick and Hightower, who I happen to like a lot as a prospect by the way."

Some have criticized Reagor for playing versus competition in the Big 12 that was lacking, but if you make that argument for him, don’t you have to do the same for Lamb when he’s brought up? Didn’t he play in the Big 12 too?

Cosell continued in his theory on Reagor and whether or not this was a solid pick for Philly.

"Reagor is a speed guy. He’s more than that, but he’s clearly got twitch. He’s got speed. He’s a vertical dimension. He’s very good running after catch. I think, when all’s said and done, if he develops as we all would like him to develop, he can be a factor against defenses at all three levels of the defense, and I think that you can use him as well on jet sweeps or reverses, things of that nature."

There’s a lot of good stuff in there. Cosell sums things up nicely.

"I know a lot of people would have liked Justin Jefferson, but to me, Justin Jefferson, while I like the player a lot, I think he’s more of one of those smooth, polished (guys) who works the middle of the field effectively. I think there’s a question as to whether Justin Jefferson has the juice that the Eagles were obviously looking for. Reagor does."

We’ll have to wait and see how all of that translates to the pro game and in-game action, but two things can’t be denied. One, the criticism of Roseman won’t quiet any if Jefferson produces more for the Vikes than Reagor produces for Philly in year one, especially after the JJ Arcega-Whiteside debacle.

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The other thing is this. Lamb, Reagor, and Jefferson are connected from the time they walk on an NFL field for their first game until they walk off of the field after their final contest, especially in the minds of Eagles fans. Everything Reagor does going forward will be compared to everything Lamb and Jefferson do. It may not be fair, but that’s how it goes in the NFL.