Can Jalen Reagor do it?
Can the rookie receiver carve his name into the Eagles’ record books in his first season?
It will take some doing, but I’m starting to come around on the idea, that, yes, he can.
The record Reagor could take would be DeSean Jackson’s mark of 912 yards receiving as a rookie in 2008.
Jordan Matthews came close in 2014, finishing with 872 and Jeremy Maclin gave it a run in 2009, but ended with 773.
If you would have asked me last year if second-round running back Miles Sanders had a chance to break Jackson’s other 2008 rookie record, which was yards from scrimmage, I would have unequivocally said no way. I won’t be as stubborn this year when it comes to Reagor’s shot.
Before I state my reason about Reagor’s shot to surpass the mark of 912 yards receiving Jackson had 12 years ago, here’s more on Jackson’s yards from scrimmage record that fell to Sanders last year.
Sanders not only beat the previous mark of 1,008, he raced by it. His combination of a team-high 818 yards rushing and 509 yards receiving, which was third highest on the team, gave him 1,327 yards from scrimmage.
In a previous story on this topic, I said I didn’t think Reagor would touch Jackson’s mark and the main reason I felt that way was the difference in weapons.
Jackson joined a team that didn’t have much firepower, though it had explosive running back Brian Westbrook, but a still-developing tight end in Brent Celek, who was in just his second pro season, and receivers such as Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, and Hank Baskett.
Well, outside of Sanders and tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, just how much firepower does the 2020 version of the Eagles have?
OK, Jackson is still on board, but can he be trusted to stay healthy for all 16 games? History says no.
Alshon Jeffery is still here despite an offseason where that just didn’t seem likely, but he is recovering from Lisfranc surgery and who knows when he will be ready to return to the field at 100 percent.
After that, what?
Sure, Greg Ward is in the mix in the slot, but it’s not inconceivable that Reagor could start opposite Jackson on the outside unless J.J. Arcega-Whiteside makes a bionic leap upward from his disappointing rookie season.
Reagor could also find some snaps in the slot.
Additionally, Reagor has the speed to kill defenses deep, so his yards could come in big chunks.
He only needs to average about 57.5 yards per game receiving to break 912 and with his speed, he may only need two or three catches per game to hit 57 or so yards each time out.
The guess is Reagor will play at least 70 percent of the offensive snaps, and that should allow him to pile up enough yards to make a strong run at Jackson’s record.