Top Receivers in NFL Draft: Jalen Reagor
TCU’s Jalen Reagor, who was saddled with abysmal quarterback play, checks in at No. 12 in our ranking of the top receivers in the NFL Draft.
For most babies, their first word is either “Mommy” or “Daddy.”
For Jalen Reagor, it was “ball.”
That’s perhaps understandable. His father, Montae Reagor, played nine seasons in the NFL and was a defensive lineman for the 2006 Indianapolis Colts team that won Super Bowl XLI.
“When he was a little boy, I knew he was going to be better than his dad. When he starting running, I asked myself why he didn’t walk first. He just ran — everywhere,” Jalen’s mother Ishia Johnson, told the Waxahachie Daily Light. “When we tried to get him to say his first word, it was ball. Not mama or daddy. Ball. All I could think is, ‘This kid is too much.’ I knew he was going to be good. He has always had an edge to him.”
Reagor did everything during an All-American junior season at TCU. He caught 43 passes for 611 yards and five touchdowns, rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns, and averaged 20.8 yards per punt return with two touchdowns. He was one of two players in FBS with two punt returns for touchdowns, both of which went 70-plus yards. As a receiver, his production crashed from his sophomore year, when he caught 72 passes for 1,061 yards. That was a byproduct of a Horned Frogs offense that leaned on the running game because of horrendous quarterback play. According to Pro Football Focus, he caught just 8-of-25 passes thrown 10 to 19 yards downfield and 8-of-25 on passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield.
“My versatility,” is what stands out in a crowded field of receivers. “I play running back. I played a little bit of quarterback. I'm a little bit of a return specialist. So, I can pretty much do it all.”
At the Scouting Combine, Reagor talked of challenging Alabama’s Henry Ruggs as the fastest receiver but ran his 40 in 4.47 seconds – a surprising two-tenths of a second slower than Ruggs. He did, however, post an explosive 42-inch vertical.
“Just me being able to do everything like every other receiver,” Reagor said. “People may look at my size and think maybe I can't or my wingspan or my catch radius, but I feel like I can do everything as good as everybody else.”
At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, Montae Reagor was a second-round pick and the 58th overall selection by Denver in 1999. Jalen Reagor measured 5-foot-10 5/8 and 206 pounds at the Scouting Combine. Are family bragging rights on the line that Jalen Reagor will be picked before his father?
“Not a competition. He wants me to go as high as possible,” he said. “All he does is support me. He was a good player in the league, a great player in the league, won a Super Bowl. So, it’s not really a competition.”
What we like
Reagor has the quicks to play in the slot and the vertical jump to play on the outside. With a do-it-all skill-set and proven special-teams acumen, he can impact his team from Day 1. Regardless of what the 40 time suggests, he gets up to top speed quickly. Combined with excellent route-running and run-after-the-catch ability, he’s a threat short, medium and long. “Big play waiting to happen” is how he summed up his game.
What we don’t like
It wasn’t all the quarterbacks’ fault last season. In 2018, Reagor dropped six of 137 targeted passes, according to Sports Info Solutions. In 2019, he dropped nine of 92. Of our top 32 receivers, he ranked a woeful 30th in drop rate. Players who drop passes in college tend to drop them in the NFL, too. To be sure, a receiver needs a quarterback to get him the ball. By the same token, sometimes the quarterback needs the receiver, too. From that perspective, he didn’t do enough last year.