The wide receivers from the 2020 NFL Draft have the potential to make this one of the greatest classes in recent history, even having the opportunity to rival the star-studded class of 2014.

This year’s highly anticipated class saw 13 receivers taken in the first two rounds, and a remarkable 37 taken in total. Heading into the off-season the expectation was for the Philadelphia Eagles to address the wide receiver in a big way. After watching many of the catastrophic performances from the 2019 season, who could blame them for wanting to see a significant change?

However, despite the need at the position, Philadelphia could ill afford to come away with just any wide receiver during this process.

There was a set of guidelines that had to be followed in order to identify the perfect fit for the Eagles.

  1. Finding the fountain of youth was priority number one for Howie Roseman and company this off-season. Philadelphia boasted the second-oldest roster in the league last season and the wide receiver position was no different. With Alshon Jeffery (30) and DeSean Jackson (33), both of whom are coming off injury-riddled season not getting any younger, the Eagles needed a guy who could grow with Wentz for the foreseeable future.
  2. While injuries to their top two receivers certainly didn’t help, the Eagles’ lack of speed severely hurt the offenses abilities to keep defenses honest in regards to the team’s ability to stretch the field. After an off-season full of hype, the impact of DeSean Jackson was felt for all of one game and was sorely missed for the remaining contests. Of course, having a deep threat is a requirement in today’s game, but having multiple options who can fill the role
  3. In order to play in the city of Philadelphia, mental toughness is a necessity. Philly fans are passionate about their sports and aren’t afraid to give their ruthless reactions whenever a team or a player is underperforming. Playing in Philadelphia is not for the weak and not just anyone can survive here. This is the same city that booed the Eagles off the field by halftime of a game on the same night they introduced the first Super Bowl banner in history. Ask any athlete that has even played in this city and they would tell you the honeymoons are quick and no one is exempt.

So with that in mind, we can address the talent pool Philadelphia had to choose from during the draft. With only two receivers off the board in the first 15 selections, everything was falling in place for the Eagles to land an impact playmaker on the outside. Surely no one was happy to see stud receiver CeeDee Lamb land with the rival Cowboys. It was interesting to see Howie Roseman and the Eagles brass show patience in their respective war rooms.

While Lamb could easily be considered the best receiver in the draft, the Eagles obviously had a philosophy and were looking for a specific type of player. Clearly, they didn’t think it was worth mortgaging future assets (Jalen Hurts?) to land the Oklahoma product, and with a multitude of receivers left to choose from this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

So as expected by the time the Eagles were on the clock at 21 each of the “big three” receivers were off the board. However, to the fan’s pleasure LSU’s Justin Jefferson and Baylor’s Denzel Mims (remember these names) were still there. With the Eagles linked to both players multiple times during the draft process surely one of them had to be the pick right?

As we all watched Roger Goodell from his basement draft set up, eagerly anticipating the pick, you hear: With the 21st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft….

At last, the Eagles had finally landed their man! The 5’11 speedster out of TCU, Jalen Reagor. As Roseman, Pederson, and Wentz celebrated, there were a few fans who were disappointed in the selection. I know what you’re thinking; “How could you be disappointed in the Eagles filling a massive need, while selecting the son of a former Eagle in the process (Jalen Reagor is the son of former Eagles defensive tackle Montae Reagor)?” Well to a lot of people, Reagor wasn’t a household name to many entering the draft which caused many to have to do their homework on the Pride of Waxahachie, Texas.

It is well known how the Eagles have suffered from a severe case of the drops for a few years now, so when fans found out about Reagor’s 13% drop rate from the 2019 season, many quickly dubbed him as “another Nelson Agholor”. This along with the fact that fan-favorite Justin Jefferson was still on the board and fans quickly had reason to show that passion we mentioned earlier.

Despite the backlash, Howie Roseman has stated on many occasions this off-season that he understands what is on the line and what he has to do in order to lead this franchise to future success. You could bet that he and the entire Eagles brass thoroughly went through each option available to them and identified the player that they think can positively impact the Philadelphia offense for the long haul. What they came away with was a dynamic playmaker capable of impacting the game in a big way at any point in time from any part of the field. Punt returns, screens, fly routes, blocking in the running game.

You name it and Reagor will do it, anything to help the team win. Quarterback play kept him out of the conversation of the countries elite but Reagor showed in 2018 that he can play with the best of them.

Reagor has work on the outside which should help give DeSean Jackson rest on occasions, he has work in the slot which should help spot Greg Ward in the same event.

Not only does Reagor give you reasons to keep him on the field but off it, he embodies some of the same tough, hard-nose traits that have made Philadelphia famous. It could be due to the adversity he and his family faced as he was growing up. It could be due to the 600-800 push-ups he does every day at a local high school gym outside of Fort Worth, Texas.

Whatever the reason maybe it seems as if Reagor is just mentally built different than many receivers at this point in their careers. This is evident when you hear Reagor address his views on the current state of the wide receiver position.

When many receivers are complaining about stats, targets, and production, Reagor is saying things like:

“My position depends on the quarterback and the play-calling. We depend so much on other people for us in this position, You just have to be a strong-minded person to play this position. You could go from a game having eight receptions, 115 yards and two touchdowns to having one reception for nine yards and no touchdowns. You have to keep going.”

What I failed to mention earlier when discussing Philadelphia’s guidelines to identifying their next playmaker at the receiver was the importance of the third and final point. Coming from other places and adjusting to life in Philadelphia especially at a young age is no easy feat. Unlike in places like New York, Los Angeles, and D.C. the media is the least of your worries.

This isn’t a knock against Philadelphia media because as journalists we do our jobs and we understand we make life far from easy on the athletes of Broad Street. But the fans, they don’t get paid to voice their opinion but they do it anyway and you will hear about it.

Last year’s first-round pick Andre Dillard acknowledged how the fans make their voices heard in the city.

“A lot of the biggest differences I noticed were the people. When you’re at Washington State in Pullman, Washington, you’re in the countryside and the middle of nowhere. You kinda know everybody and everybody is nice to each other and just super friendly and then you come here and your own fans say just foul things to you. Everybody: fans, media, they’ll hate you one minute and then love you the next. That’s the big difference I learned. Just going from a small city to a big city, in itself, is a lot different.”

Which is why Jalen Reagor was such a good fit for Philadelphia. Not only did they come away with a talented player, who is set to have a significant impact on the offense this season, but they drafted a guy who fits everything that is Philadelphia. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any of his counterparts couldn’t fill these shoes; although between Justin Jefferson’s somewhat bitter declarations that “every single person that picked a receiver instead of me are going to pay.”

Denzel Mims’ outlandish statement against everything Philadelphia, saying, “I didn’t like that dirty a__, trash a__ city” it’s hard to see them taking the heat that comes with playing in Philadelphia.

This isn’t anyone proclaiming that Jalen Reagor will be the next Eagles great before he has even played a down in Philadelphia.

This is simply saying that when it all came down to it, the Eagles made the right decision.

Reagor fits the criteria and when you see his saying things like this it just makes you feel that much more confident that Reagor is made for Philadelphia.


Featured Image: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today
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