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The Philadelphia Eagles are currently caught somewhere between overachieving and disappointing.
Philadelphia reached the postseason in a year in which most did not expect them to compete for all that much of anything, and the Eagles did so with a second-year quarterback who was also a bit of an unknown entering his first full season as a starter. Jalen Hurts and Co. overachieved in that regard.
But the disappointment came in the fashion in which those Eagles ended their 2021 season. Philadelphia fell to Tampa Bay, 31-15, in a game that truly wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Among those disappointing: Hurts, and a former first-round receiver whose performance Sunday was just the latest in an underwhelming career to this point.
Jalen Reagor caught one pass for two yards in the defeat. He also muffed two punts, losing the first and the slim chance the Eagles had of staging a massive comeback.
The performance from Reagor wasn’t a surprise to Eagles fans, who have to come to expect little from a receiver on whom they once placed their great hopes. It’s unlikely Eagles brass was surprised by his lack of positive contribution, either, with general manager Howie Roseman explaining Reagor’s subpar career rather simply this week.
“Certainly, heading into Year 3, expected more from Jalen at this point,” Roseman said Wednesday. “We had a chance to sit down with him after the season and had an honest conversation about the things that he needs to develop and the things that we can help him develop to continue his growth, in terms of learning from anything. We have to do that. We have to continue to evolve.”
Justin Jefferson has racked up 196 receptions, 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns, and earned two Pro Bowl selections and two second-team All-Pro nods in his first two seasons with the Vikings. Reagor was selected 21st overall in the 2020 draft — one pick ahead of Jefferson — and has caught 64 passes for 695 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons.
Even without that juxtaposition, Reagor’s production would still be significantly underwhelming. He’s quickly headed toward being remembered as Corey Coleman, not DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin.
That kind of disappointment doesn’t just reflect on the player. Roseman and his staff have to answer for it, too.
“We kind of have to look at not only the things that maybe we don’t like about our decision-making, not just talking about Jalen in this situation, but talking about as a whole, but also the things that we did well,” Roseman admitted. “I think that’s part of continuing to grow in your job and in your profession.”
Entering the draft, Reagor, a speedster out of TCU, was seen as a player with plenty of untapped potential that could be accessed simply if he was paired with a quality quarterback. Roseman has, in a sense, failed Reagor on that front, forcing the rookie to play with a mentally broken Carson Wentz in 2020 before then handing to the keys to an unproven but dynamic passer in Hurts in 2021. While Hurts certainly has potential, it’s not as if Reagor is playing with Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady.
Philadelphia also changed its offensive philosophy in the middle of the season, shifting to a focus on using Hurts as a versatile runner in a ground-based attack that eventually helped the Eagles reach the playoffs. And all the while, Reagor’s role felt like that of an extra in a big-budget action film.
Sometimes, teams just get picks wrong. After two years, it’s starting to look that way for Philadelphia, which essentially admitted as much when Roseman spent another first-rounder on a receiver: Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
Smith, taken No. 10 overall in 2021, shined in his first season. The Eagles did not miss there. But they’d be even better off if they’d nailed the Reagor pick.
Perhaps then, they’d still be overachieving entering the Divisional Round.
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Around The NFL Writer