How Passing on Jefferson Allowed the Eagles to Land the Best Receiving Duo in the NFL.
When you are a top college player attending a virtual NFL Draft during a Coronavirus Pandemic, it doesn’t matter what the mock drafts say. As a human emotion, you have nerves. Even when you aren’t there in person.
As Justin Jefferson sat in his living room dressed in his blue suit during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, he knew his number was next to be called.
Every mock draft had predicted that the LSU superstar receiver would become a Philadelphia Eagle. As his phone lit up, he knew that it would be the Eagles on the phone.
The Philadelphia Eagles were on the clock with the 21st pick and had their sights set on a receiver.
The problem was it wasn’t Justin Jefferson. And they weren’t on the other end of the phone.
The Minnesota Vikings were.
The Eagles would end up drafting Jalen Reagor out of TCU that night, the same night that they drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts.
With a stunned Minnesota Vikings Draft Room now on the clock with the 22nd pick, they selected Jefferson.
Back in Philadelphia, the highest-drafted player from TCU since 2016 came with great expectations. But through a myriad of miscues, including fumbling his first NFL punt and dropping a game-winning touchdown pass against the New York Giants in 2021, Reagor’s stock in Philadelphia diminished. In the 2022 NFL playoff wild-card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Reagor fumbled two punts, with one being a turnover.
Ironically, last August, the Eagles traded Reagor to Minnesota to play with Justin Jefferson. One year later, he was released and was signed to the Patriots Practice Squad.
For a moment in time, the Vikings had both the 21st and 22nd players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Since being drafted in 2020, Justin Jefferson (Offensive Player of the Year Award in 2022) has over 4,800 yards and 25 total touchdowns.
The Eagles learned their lesson from the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. In 2021, they traded up with the Cowboys to select Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith. On Draft Day in 2022, the Eagles traded a first-round and a third-round pick to the Tennessee Titans.
Justin Jefferson’s 159-yard performance at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night was only overshadowed by the Eagles duo of DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown amassing 170 yards total through the air.
Oh, and in case you were wondering…
That 7th-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft that was part of the Jalen Reagor trade with Minnesota in 2022? The Eagles utilized it in another trade for a running back that ran for 175 yards on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
His name is D’Andre Swift.