Philadelphia Eagles draft: Why Reagor and Justin Jefferson are forever linked

Jalen Reagor #18, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jalen Reagor #18, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

At the time of this story being published, it will be almost 365 days since it happened. As Philadelphia Eagles fans, some of you have healed, and some of you have not, but April 23rd is a day that will live in Birds and draft lore forever.

There they were. The Eagles were on the clock at 21, and though they knew they wouldn’t land Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy, or CeeDee Lamb, Justin Jefferson was still on the board as the clock began counting down for Philly to make its selection.

The pressure was there to get this selection right. One year prior, the Eagles had taken JJ Arcega-Whiteside over D.K. Metcalf. That was clearly a mistake, but that’s part of why they were in this position of, again, being desperate at wide receiver in the first place.

It was the shot heard around the Philadelphia Eagles fan base.

At the time, it felt like all hope wasn’t lost. Placing Jefferson’s name on the Eagles’ draft card would change everything. He’d be the answer to so many prayers, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Philly made their choice, and that choice was heard by the world. With the 21st-overall selection in 2020’s NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Jalen Reagor out of Texas Christian’s football program. Jefferson, one spot later, would go to the Minnesota Vikings.

There was stunned silence. Jaws met the floor, and here we are one year later. A portion of the most loyal fan base in sports still look at that decision like they’re in mourning.

Philadelphia Eagles fans and NFL fans will link these two forever.

Whether fair or unfair, regardless of what he ever does in an Eagles jersey, Jalen Reagor’s legacy will always include mentions of Justin Jefferson, much like Eagles fans will always bring up D.K. Metcalf when they talk about JJAW. There’s still time, but the clock is ticking. It feels like JJ Arcega-Whiteside has one foot out of the door in Philadelphia.

That’s just how these things work. The NFL Draft ties these guys together at times, and from now until the end of eternity, Reagor and Jefferson and JJAW and Metcalf are companion pieces in history. can you imagine if Jefferson and Metcalf made it to the Hall of Fame?

Since that night in April one year ago, Reagor missed five games during his rookie campaign with an injury but started in all 11 games he appeared in. He caught 31 passes for 396 yards and scored one receiving touchdown. He’d notch another on special teams as a punt returner.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Jefferson was doing work. He appeared in all 16 games with 14 starts. He hauled in 88 passes for 1,400 yards and reached the end zone seven times. Recently, he sat with Tyler Tynes of GQ Magazine and was quoted as saying that any game he ever appears in versus the Birds “will definitely be edgier… especially because they passed on (him)”.

This is the statement that kicks the door down though.

"Leading up to the draft, you know, they had all of those mock drafts and people sharing their opinions on who is going to go where. A lot of people had me going to Philly, and I thought I was going to Philly. Honestly. The funny part is, Philly was on the board and then Minnesota called me. At first, I thought it was Philly, but I answered the phone and it was Minnesota. It’s crazy how all of that happened and everything, but I’m definitely, definitely, definitely excited that I’m on the Vikings rather than Philly."

How can you blame him? What can you say after that? The Vikings have had their down years, but be honest. Who do you see turning things around more quickly? Is it Minnesota, or are you riding with the dysfunctional franchise with the meddling owner and maniacal general manager?

Still, here’s what’s crazy. The Birds still have an opportunity to get things right and, maybe, start turning things around in yet another NFL Draft.

For the third year in a row, the wide receiver position is a talking point. For the third season in a row, Philly is in prime position to land one. What will happen come draft time? Fingers are crossed all over the Eagles fan base because if we haven’t learned anything else, it’s been this. If anyone can mess this up, it’s Howie Roseman and company.