jalen-reagor.jpg
USATSI

The Philadelphia Eagles made some scratch their heads when they selected Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. While Philadelphia had just one full-padded training camp practice, Reagor has made a strong first impression.

Reagor opened with the first-team offense Monday, lining up at the "X" as Alshon Jeffery is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is "day-to-day" with a lower-body injury. The Eagles' rookie looked in sync immediately with starting quarterback Carson Wentz, a strong sign of things to come for the new-look offense. 

"It's been a lot of fun to work with Jalen. He is an explosive athlete," Wentz said on a conference call after Eagles' practice Monday. "You can see that with his route-running ability and his down-the-field presence. You turn on his highlight tape and you see what he does with the ball in his hands -- and that's one thing we haven't been able to see, obviously, with just practice going on and nothing live."

Wentz was finally able to see how Reagor looked in a full-padded practice, three weeks behind schedule due the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of training camp for all 32 teams. Reagor was fluid out of the route breaks and showcased the explosiveness the Eagles envisioned when they selected him in the first round over Jefferson. Reagor struggled as a punt returner, muffing two punts, but he and Wentz seem to have their timing down already. 

"I know what he brings as a threat to the defense and he's picked up on things really well," Wentz said. "He's always listening and always curious about why we're doing things a certain way or how I saw a certain play. And that's the type of thing I look for as a veteran, to look for these young guys that truly want to learn. The ones that truly want to grow and want to be great. 

"I see that with him and I see an extremely bright future in him. I'm excited to help him become the player that he dreams of being." 

Wentz threw a lot of passes over the middle to Reagor, an indication how the Eagles plan to use him in the early going. Obviously the playbook will be opened to showcase Reagor's explosiveness downfield as camp goes on, but the Eagles are working on making Reagor a reliable playmaker for Wentz on Day 1. 

It's been a decade since the Eagles had an explosive playmaker at wide receiver in his rookie season. Reagor is demonstrating similar signs to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in their rookie training camp practices with the Eagles.  

As Philadelphia fans will tell anyone willing to listen, both those wideouts worked out well. 

"He has the swag of a big-time receiver," said Eagles' wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead. "He's a powerful guy. He's fast. He's got good hands. He's really starting to put things together, and it's a good thing. And it's only going to keep getting better."