PHILADELPHIA — Eagles rookie receiver Jalen Reagor raised some eyebrows recently when he revealed that quarterback Carson Wentz has compared parts of Reagor’s game to that of Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones.
Wentz offered context for those comments about the Eagles’ 2020 first-round pick (No. 21 overall) this week.
“First of all, Julio, I think he’s the best — one of the best at the very least. By no means am I saying this rookie is Julio Jones right now, but his combination of speed and power and just watching tape of Julio, I see some similarities of how they run routes,” Wentz said.
“And I think there’s a lot to learn from watching a guy like Julio, that I’ve really challenged Jalen to kind of dissect his game and try and model it to some extent, which, in my opinion, there’s no better player to model it after than arguably one of the best receivers in the game right now.”
The natural ability is plain to see. Reagor’s burst and leaping ability have stood out in training camp. So far, it has been a fairly smooth transition from college to pro for the top pick out of TCU, even without the benefit of a traditional offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic. Reagor has made a number of standout plays, including a finger-tip grab deep down the sideline during one-on-ones against Darius Slay.
“That was a terrific catch, by the way. I told him that was a good route, man. I told him he’s got some wheels,” Slay said. “I’m just out there trying to make him a better player and for me to be a better player, and we continue to keep working.”
Judging by practice thus far, the Eagles plan to feature Reagor quite a bit right away. He has been splitting first-team reps at receiver with JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and he looks to be in line for the punt returning gig. Reagor had a pair of punt return touchdowns last season while finishing with 700 yards and five touchdowns from scrimmage for TCU.
Expect Philadelphia to find multiple ways to get the ball in Reagor’s hands, whether that’s on a wide receiver screen, a jet sweep or the more traditional pitch-and-catch.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 17, 2020
“He’s a guy who’s definitely standing out on film,” Eagles safety Jalen Mills said. “Really, really quick off his first step, whether it’s press or him just coming off the line, and also showing he’s not scared to catch the ball over the middle. That’s very, very promising, especially coming from a rookie receiver.”
It hasn’t all been pretty. Reagor muffed a few punts early on and still faces a sizable learning curve as he acclimates to an NFL offense with little runway remaining. But the Eagles seem to be counting on him to produce early and often, which helps explain why Wentz is pumping the young receiver up while setting expectations high.
“We watch a lot of clips with our routes and stuff like that, and he just says, ‘You’re explosive like Julio. You can run fast. You can jump high.’ So he compares me to a lot of receivers,” Reagor said.
“He’s just saying certain routes, certain people can’t run. He’s just like, ‘You can run those routes.’ He’s putting it up there, he’s putting it on me, he’s putting it all on me, and I’m willing to get better every day and work at it.”