NFL Draft 2020: Eagles’ Jalen Reagor pick a change in direction for franchise that has failed to develop WRs

The Philadelphia Eagles had an organizational philosophy this offseason to get younger and faster across the roster. They weren’t going to buck that trend just because Justin Jefferson was still on the board when it got to pick No. 21 in the NFL Draft. 

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman passed on Jefferson and took the wide receiver the front office coveted all along. Jalen Reagor was the fourth wide receiver taken off the board in the NFL Draft, as the Eagles stuck to the plan– regardless how the draft board played out. 

“Well, I think that you see the separation on tape. You see the vertical separation as an outside receiver, and those things are hard to find,” Roseman said when explaining what the Eagles saw in Reagor to select him at No. 21 over Jefferson. “When you look at this draft — about guys who can just separate as an outside vertical receiver, there are not a lot of those guys. Those guys are hard to find and they’re hard to find in this league. 

“You see it, that it really fits our quarterback skillset. Our quarterback likes to throw the ball down the field and make vertical throws.”

Selecting Reagor at No. 21 was about finding a wide receiver who sets up Carson Wentz with the best chance to succeed as he enters the prime years of his career. Outside of DeSean Jackson (who played only one full game with Wentz), Wentz has never had a “burner” wide receiver that can take the top off a defense and open up the field underneath. 

The Eagles looked for a receiver who didn’t have the eye-popping stats many look at when grading a prospect. Instead of relying on college production, Philadelphia used a different method to find the prospect they wanted. 

For the first time since the Eagles selected Jackson in 2008, Philadelphia based its pick off potential. As many recall, Jackson turned out well. 

“The one thing I think that stood out about Jalen was his ability — the outside speed, his vertical threat, his ability to go up, play above the rim, and catch the football,” Roseman said. “His 40-plus vertical inch, that transferred to the field. 

“And you can see his speed. You can see it on tape running by people, down field, going up and making adjustment catches. Then on the return, as a punt returner you can see it, too. This is what really stood out about Jalen was that vertical threat, his ability to go up and [get the ball] and make big plays.”

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