I’ve known since April I’d be writing about this player sometime this year. The only question I had to ask myself was when. I watch a lot of college football, but to be completely honest I was not particularly familiar with Reagor before this past winter. Sure, I knew the name and was aware of his prospect status, but little beyond that. The more I read and the more I watched the more smitten I became with this player’s profile. He didn’t come without risk, but he had all the ingredients of an elite wide receiver.
So why write about him now? Why is his name just becoming a “thing” as we enter Week 8 and why not bang the table for him at the outset of the season? Well, I was prepared to, but then an August shoulder injury caused me to hit pause. It’s the sort of injury that a wide receiver can play through, but it requires pain tolerance and causes a limited catch radius. Given his stature, how would this limited catch radius impact his performance? This was something I wanted to see in-action before making an endorsement decision. I saw enough after game #2 to buy-in, but just as I was comfortable with his risk reports of his torn thumb ligaments became news and to injured reserve he went. That said, as it turns out I think this was a good thing.
He was a great use of an IR spot for those leagues with that roster space available. The extra time off did not necessarily help with the shoulder injury; it’s the sort of injury that’s going to require an offseason operation to fix. However, it gave him more time for his body to adapt to the limitations that come with it and it’s more of a week-to-week injury rather than snap-to-snap in nature. For those leagues in which he wasn’t a viable IR stash he was an easy drop with about now circled on the calendar the date to reacquire him. With reports beginning to leak that there is a chance Reagor returns Sunday night, now is the time to make the move. It’s possible he doesn’t end up suiting up, but you’re not making the add for this week anyway. This add is about what he could do Week 10 and beyond.
Why did I become entranced with this prospect over the winter? It wasn’t any one thing that drew me in; it was the collective picture. Below is a small sample of where he thrives relative to his competition:
*Career contested catches among 2020 1st round wide receivers – 27 (1st)
*Most targets with a step or more of separation 20+ yards down field since 2018 – 25 (T-3rd)
*42″ vertical (8th best among receivers since 2006) and 11’6″ broad jump (5th best among same sample)
*He had a good enough 40, but his 10 yard split is what got my attention – 1.48 (T-1st)
*SPARQ percentile score of 93.3
He checks the athleticism boxes and in the areas of the game in his control he thrives. Why didn’t it lead to more in the box score? Well, there’s only so much one can do when just 61% of his targets are deemed catchable. That horrendous collegiate quarterback play presents a buying opportunity though. On tape, he blazes by defensive backs. He gets his opponents to bite on double-moves and his abilities at the catch point are unique. He’s not your typical speed guy either, but rather he wins as a technician. He combines a competitive fire with refined route running to overwhelm defenders, then uses his special power and acceleration skills to blow by them. He was the talk of Eagles camp and was ready to explode onto the scene before the injury double-whammy hit him. As the calendar flips to November we are about to enter Jalen Reagor season.
Flavor of the Week: Award winning Bar-B-Q
This rookie possesses all of the traits of a league winning add. I’m not going to say he is going to do late in 2020 what Odell beckham Jr. did in 2014. I am going to say it’s in the range of potential outcomes though as Reagor is going to be a star in the NFL. Just like some award winning brisket.