This Jalen Reagor fantasy rookie article was updated after the NFL Draft, but still includes pre-draft and NFL combine insight to help paint a complete picture.
Jalen Reagor Fantasy Rookie Forecast
With the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected wide receiver, Jalen Reagor, from TCU. Taking Reagor was somewhat of a surprise especially with many mock drafters having the Eagles take Justin Jefferson pre-draft who was also still available on the board. The Eagles made it clear that they did not want another slot receiver, but rather an explosive outside threat at the position. Also, consider they drafted wide receivers John Hightower and Quez Watkins in the later rounds the theme with these receivers is speed and big-play ability on the outside. All of their 40-yard dash times ranked in the 74th percentile or better and their burst scores per Playerprofiler.com ranked in the 69th percentile or better. The Eagles now have more speed on the outside with Reagor to play opposite DeSean Jackson and additional depth if Jackson struggles with injuries again. Reagor is a perfect fit for the Philadelphia offense considering how badly they struggled to get production with their perimeter receivers.
- Eagles wide receivers from the slot in 2019: 67 receptions, 723 yards, 8 TDs on 497 snaps
- Eagles wide receivers from the outside in 2019: 66 receptions, 777 yards, 3 TDs on 1789 snaps
Their receivers as whole struggled per Sports Illustrated: In 2019, Philadelphia ranked 29th in WR catches (151), 31st in WR yards (1,419), and 28th in WR TDs (11).
I do expect with his high draft capital for Reagor to hit the field immediately specifically in three-receiver sets with Alshon Jeffery and Jackson. Those are the only two receivers I would project for more targets than Reagor outside the tight ends. But neither of those two receivers have been reliable over the past few seasons, so Reagor’s target share in the offense could look vastly different from Week 1 to later on in the 2020 season.
In the meantime what Reagor will lack in terms of target share, he can make up with efficiency because of his big-play upside. Consider many of the offensive pieces in this offense consist of much older players as well. Jeffery is 30 years old and there have been trade rumors swirling with him. Jackson is 33 years old. Zach Ertz will be 30 by the end of the season and had a major hip injury last season. By taking Reagor in the first-round and two more speedy-receivers later on the Eagles have made it clear they want to invest more youth into the position.
My initial projection for Reagor in his rookie season is 35 receptions for 500 receiving yards and three touchdowns. However, these projections are made with the idea that Jeffery and Jackson play an entire season, so his production could rise very quickly. Especially considering Wentz likes to throw the ball deep. In 2019, per PFF he ranked seventh overall in pass attempts over 20 yards downfield but suffered from the most drops on those passes (thanks to Nelson Agholor). Reagor did deal with some drop issues himself in college, but if he can correct them, he will make an immediate impact.
When Doug Pederson spoke about Reagor after drafting him he had this to say: “Obviously number one was the speed,” Pederson explained. “This guy, he can definitely stretch the field. His vertical for a 5’10”/5’11″ guy, he can elevate. He can get balls above the rim, as we say…We are very excited about this player, and obviously having DeSean and getting him back and keeping him healthy throughout the whole year and having a player of his caliber, along with Jalen on the field, I think it’s exciting.”
Overall I think the important thing to take away here is that Eagles do not see Reagor has a replacement or backup to Jackson for 2020; ideally they want them both on the field at the same time. It does remain to be seen how they plan to implement that with Philadelphia relying heavily on 12 personnel. That will be something to pay attention to this offseason.
Quick Link: Dynasty Rookie Rankings – Check out Jalen Reagor fantasy value in our 2020 rookie rankings.
Jalen Pre- NFL Draft Profile
After the 2018 college season, wide receiver Jalen Reagor from TCU was firmly on the eyes of NFL scouts. Fantasy owners need to be excited about Reagor because his ceiling and potential are sky high based on his explosiveness. Though his 40-time at the NFL combine did not turn heads, Reagor appeared to weigh in much heavier than his playing weight was in 2019. Still, he impressed in the jump drills ranking in the 97th percentile in the vertical jump and 98th percentile in the broad jump.
- Height: 5 ft 10 in
- Weight: 206lbs
- Arms: 31.38
- Age: 21
In 2018, Reagor’s best cumulative season in the NCAA, he finished with 1,040 receiving yards (33rd), 131 targets (10th), and 71 receptions (33rd). In terms of fantasy points in 2018, he ranked number nine overall at receiver just ahead of receiver Jerry Jeudy and right behind receiver Marquise Brown.
He also became the first TCU receiver to top 1,000 yards since Josh Doctson. In high school, he attended Waxahachie High School, where he played under former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna. His father Montae Reagor was a former NFL defensive end.
In the Big 12 conference, he ranked top-ten in receptions, yards from scrimmage, receiving yards, touchdowns, and yards per reception. But what makes Reagor even more exciting at the next level is his punt return ability. In 2019, he ranked fourth overall in the NCAA in total punt return yards and second in punt return yards per return (20.8).
The most astonishing fact about Reagor was his quarterback’s play in 2019: It was absolutely horrible. According to PFF data compiled by NFL.com’s Graham Barfield, Reagor had the lowest instance of accurate passes thrown to him among the entire receiver class for the 2020 NFL Draft. The 5-11, 205-pounder saw an accurate pass 31% of the time.
Quality QB play is obviously a large part trying to evaluate wide receivers coming into the NFL.
Using PFF data, here is how often the 2020 WR class saw an accurate pass on their targets: pic.twitter.com/1DleCybZKe
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) February 27, 2020
NFL Combine Recap
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.47
- Bench Press: 17
- Vertical Jump: 42
- 3 Cone Drill: 7.31
- Shuttle: 4.46
Strengths & Weaknesses
One weakness of Reagor is his extremely-low catch rate. His drop rate via PFF ranked 14th-worst overall of all receivers with at least 80 targets in 2019. However, as I have alluded to earlier, this may not be entirely his fault; he was the victim of poor quarterback play at the collegiate level. Because of that, his career reception percentage was a meager 53.1%. Reagor is also not much of a contested-catch type of receiver despite his vertical leaping ability. Also, his yards after the catch numbers based on his athletic profile can leave you slightly disappointed. His most yards after the catch in a season were 424 (’18 ranked 38th) and yards after the catch per reception 7.5 (’17 ranked 58th). He was also not heavily featured in the slot.
His strengths are highlighted by his ability as a punt returner and just overall explosiveness. He also has great attributes as a player that can stretch the field. In his college career, Reagor scored 22 touchdowns with 14 touchdowns coming on passing plays 20+ yards down the field. His rookie season he averaged 17.5 yards per catch which ranked 29th in the NCAA and eighth in the Big 12 of any player with at least 58 targets. He has a ton of versatility outside special teams by also taking handoffs from the backfield. He can be a dynamic moveable chess piece in an offense whether he lines up in the backfield or out wide.
Best Fit: NFL Scheme
Reagor does not profile as a locked and loaded number one wide receiver at the next level and would better serve as a complementary piece in an offense. Just looking at team needs’s the Green Bay Packers look like the perfect fit for Reagor. Not only do they need a receiver to help behind Davante Adams – they need to improve their punt return game. The Packers ranked second to last in that category in 2019 averaging just 4.9 per return. If Reagor were to go from arguably the worst quarterback play in terms of accuracy to Aaron Rodgers that would be a massive upgrade. Matt LaFleur comes from the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree and perhaps Reagor is that x-factor piece that he can add to the Packers’ offense that can help diversify it further. He had 36 rushing attempts in college at nine yards a carry. In 2019 he had 14 carries and forced eight missed tackles on those carries.
Pre-NFL Draft Dynasty Thoughts
For wide receivers entering the draft two factors to always take notice are college target market share and breakout age. Via Playerprofiler.com these are two categories that Reagor absolutely smashes on. 95 percentile breakout age and 74th percentile college dominator rating. Reagor shows the traits of an electric and explosive receiver which can be seen in his burst score that ranks in the 99th percentile. Any team that needs a player to help them create big-plays will be salivating over this rookie. He said himself, “I’m a big play waiting to happen, I can make something happen in situations you might not think I can and I’m coming to make an immediate impact.”
That being said because he relies on big-plays, he will probably not be seeing double-digit targets on a week to week basis; his rookie season will probably involve flashes and a lot of 3 receptions for 20-yard games – especially if he sees more subpar quarterback play. Ultimately, what he brings as a punt returner will help him see more time on the field. We have seen rookie wide receiver enter the NFL with punt return ability and become immediate contributors at the next level. Some of these players include Mecole Hardman, Diontae Johnson, and Christian Kirk. All of those aforementioned players had at least one collegiate season averaging over 20 yards per punt return.
At the combine, Reagor weighed in over 200 pounds; at TCU his listed playing weight was 195 pounds. So though most expected more than his 4.47 40-yard dash time if he slims down before the TCU pro-day do not be surprised to see Reagor’s stock back up after he gets another chance to run.
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