Offseason Review: Best Offensive Addition?
(Editor’s Note: This is the first story in an InsideTheBirds.com series recapping the 2020 Eagles offseason. The series will focus on the team’s transactions since the end of the 2019 season, including free agency, the draft and trades. In Part 1, Geoff Mosher and Andrew DiCecco pick the best offensive acquisition of the offense.)
Who was the Eagles’ best acquisition on offense?
Andrew’s pick: Jalen Reagor
The Eagles addressed the glaring speed deficiency on the offensive side of the ball over the offseason by acquiring four players with a proven track record of stretching the field. While each member of the talented quartet possesses an innate ability to separate, one addition in particular stood out among the rest as a potential home run.
In the weeks leading up to draft night, more than a handful of pundits were of the belief that LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson would don the Midnight Green if he happened to be on the board when the Eagles were on the clock. Even Baylor wideout Denzel Mims — another prospect often tied to Philadelphia throughout the pre-draft process — had his share of advocates, but TCU speedster Jalen Reagor was the choice.
Reagor, along with a healthy DeSean Jackson, will be tasked with invigorating a largely lifeless Eagles downfield offense. In fact, aside from Jackson’s Week 1 dominance, the Eagles fielded the NFL’s slowest offense in 2019, and the oft-maligned unit was often the primary culprit behind the frequent slow starts.
With Alshon Jeffery expected to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, that, in theory, bumps Reagor up to third on the depth chart behind Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, so the team figures to get a long look at their first-round investment if and when training camps open this summer.
Another variable working in Reagor’s favor, is that he is more of a polished product than people think. As Reagor’s college offensive coordinator, Sonny Cumbie, told Inside the Birds in April, “[Reagor’s] a good route-runner, he can run all the routes – there’s not a route out there that he can’t get in and out of his breaks.”
While the abbreviated offseason undoubtedly puts young players at a distinct disadvantage, Reagor offers a unique skill set that should allow him to have an early impact in a myriad of ways. Whether he’s returning punts, running the ball on jet sweeps, manufacturing yards after the catch on dump-offs, or adding the vertical element to the passing game, the former Horned Frog is poised for a productive rookie campaign.
Geoff’s pick: Jalen Reagor
Really, I’d love to argue with Andrew here. Good debate is always compelling sports content. But I’d either be a fool or a contrarian to disagree. And nobody likes a contrarian.
Marquise Goodwin adds another downfield presence and Jalen Hurts will be the center of attention when camp begins, but the most impactful addition to the offense this year can only be the team’s first-round pick.
So let’s focus on Andrew’s last paragraph, about how the Eagles plan to use Reagor and what the former TCU standout can bring to Doug Pederson’s playbook. We can’t foresee right now where Reagor line up. DeSean Jackson, when healthy, is the “Z” receiver. Second-year pro J.J. Arceaga-Whiteside will compete to start at the “X” spot with Alshon Jeffery likely to be on PUP for at least the first few weeks of the season.
Ideally, Reagor could battle with Arcega-Whiteside for snaps at the “X,” although learning to beat NFL-level press coverage will be more difficult without spring camps. But the speed and explosion is undeniable, and Reagor has good size (5-11, 205) for the position. He’s not a tiny burner like Jackson. Actually, he reminds me more of former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who was about the same size as Reagor.
Maclin played every position for the Eagles, moving around and paired with Jackson to give the Eagles speed everywhere. He had 773 yards and four TDs as a rookie in 2010, which is probably a fair target for Reagor, who’ll be surrounded by Jackson and Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to take the pressure off him from having to carry a larger load.
— Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a contributor to InsideTheBirds.com. He also writes
for Pro Football Network. Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherNFL) is a longtime Philadelphia Eagles and NFL reporter and co-host of Inside the Birds.
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