Well, that didn’t take long. Immediately after Eagles GM Howie Roseman selected TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, living rooms across the land rang with boos while keyboard warriors set their Twitter timelines ablaze with hot takes.
Why? Without getting too deep into the weeds, there are essentially three reasons why Eagles fans are pissed.
- Justin Jefferson was still on the board – Hey, I get it. Nearly every Eagles’ beat writer and a few national “experts” have been mocking the LSU star to the Birds for weeks. Plus, he racked up gaudy stats for the national champions playing with first overall pick Joe Burrow throwing him pass after pass during the 2019 season.
- Jalen Reagor is an “unknown” guy – I’m guilty of falling for Jefferson as much as everyone else. I happen to think he was a perfect fit for Doug’s offense. I was aware of Reagor, but I didn’t view him as someone the Eagles would consider at 21. That said, his skill set actually fits what the Eagles want and need. He’s fast and explosive. Would fans be as angry if Henry Ruggs was taken over Jefferson? Probably not, because Ruggs blew up the combine, despite being a less productive receiver than Reagor. And Ruggs is, ya know, a known guy.
- CeeDee Lamb ended up with the Cowboys – Lamb’s unexpected tumble down the board added insult to injury when Jerry Jones snatched him up at 17. BUT WHY DIDN’T HOWIE TRADE UP FOR LAMB?! I dunno, maybe no one above him wanted to make a deal. Do fans think GMs can waive a magic wand and force teams to trade with them? Atlanta at 16 was the only spot where the Eagles might have been able to jump. We have no idea what the asking price was and probably never will. By the way, Atlanta was itching to draft a CB which is exactly what they did. Maybe, just maybe, the Falcons preferred to stay put and grab A.J. Terrell rather than risk missing out on him by trading back.
Another point that has gone largely unnoticed is why CeeDee Lamb fell to 17? The Jets, Raiders, 49ers, and Broncos all needed wide receiver help and all four bypassed Lamb. Maybe the decision-makers for those teams are idiots who will rue the day they said no to Lamb. If Lamb ends up being the awesome player most pundits and talking heads projected him to be, then those four teams will look pretty dumb.
On the flipside, it’s possible the talent evaluators for those four teams could be right about Lamb. Maybe Lamb’s production in Lincoln Riley’s high-octane offense was viewed as manufactured rather than uniquely special. I personally like Lamb and think he’ll end up being a good pro, but I’m just a fan. What the hell do I know?
Like the overwhelming majority of football fans, I’m not a trained scout who has spent years studying the athletic traits and skills required to be an NFL caliber player. It’s easy to bitch and moan, beer in hand, when some guy you don’t know gets drafted over the guy you do know.
The Eagles desperately needed a young, fast, playmaking wide receiver. That’s the profile of Jalen Reagor. I’m not going to dismiss the guy just because he’s not the pick I wanted or expected. Only time will tell which of Reagor, Jefferson, or Lamb will end up helping their respective teams more.