Jalen Reagor and DeVonta Smith 2021 outlook
By Jesse Moeller (Twitter: JMoeller05)
For the second consecutive season, the Eagles have drafted a Wide Receiver in the first round of the NFL draft. Last year, the Eagles took Jaelon Reagor out of TCU. The Eagles then followed it up this season, drafting Devonta Smith out of Alabama. Let us look at these two and see if they can form the perfect partnership for the 2021 season and beyond.
Batman – DeVonta Smith
Four things the @Eagles are getting in @DeVontaSmith_6
🦅 Route running
🦅 Vertical speed
🦅 Soft hands
🦅 YAC on YAC on YAC
In steps, the Slim Reaper (best nickname in the NFL) coming off one of the greatest college football seasons ever. Devonta put up video game numbers to the tune of 1.856 yards and 23 touchdowns on 117 receptions in 13 games. He went back to college for his senior year after dominating as a junior in 2019 while participating with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jalen Waddle. According to the NFL, it proved to be the correct decision as they rewarded Smith with a top 10 pick.
He is the definition of Batman. No matter what you tried to do, you could not stop him, as he continually presents problems for defenses. My jaw dropped countless times watching Smith cook opposing defenders. He is a craftsman who uses his long slight frame to offer various ways to win. He is a 6’1″ unicorn in the NFL with a wingspan the same as Collin Johnson, who is 6’6″.
While many people are worried about his weight, it is not something that should bother you. Smith has the required height and skill at the position to win against the best NFL cornerbacks consistently. He has a remarkable ability to control his body, creating angles with his frame that is flat-out unguardable.
While we would like Smith to be heavier, the lack of weight allows him to explode in and out of breaks that give him an edge at the position. He is my number two rookie wide receiver who will make sweet, sweet music with Jalen Hurts this year.
Here are my projections for Smith:
80 receptions for 1037 yards and eight touchdowns on a 21% Target Share. That equals 232 PPR fantasy points.
Robin – Jalen Reagor
Loved the nugget from @TheAudible on Jalen Reagor.
Injuries forced TCU to use him as a vertical threat, the Eagles followed suit.
He excels underneath, action the Colts used frequently with Pittman and Campbell. He could be a sneaky ppr monster.
Reagor season was considered a bust by many. He suffered through injuries, as he dealt with many injuries his rookie season that cost him almost the entire first half of his rookie season. After Reagor returned in week eight, he managed to put 300 yards in those remaining nine games. That averages out to a measly 33 yards per game on 2.9 targets per game. Even if Reagor were healthy and played an entire year, we would be looking at 533 yards and 46 reception for the season.
There are not too many positives to take from his rookie season. It was never a good sign when both your 57.5% catch rate and 7.3 Yards Per Target were among the worst amongst wide receivers last year. Reagor’s inefficiency was by no means strictly on him, as Wentz was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season. Next-Gen Stats has Wentz 40th in Passer Rating (72.8), 40th in Completion Percentage Above Expected (-4.8), 34th in Average Air Yards Differential (-2.8), and 6th in Time to Throw (2.91). What do these stats say to you? For me, they paint a picture of how abysmal Wentz was, add in the injuries, and we can chalk 2020 up to a lost season for the young wideout.
Fast forward to this offseason, and we received two critical bits of news for Reagor’s dynasty outlook. The first is that Reagor is moving to the slot. A role suited for him to succeed. His two prized assets coming out are the ability to accelerate and change direction in college. Watch Reagor’s TCU tape, and you routinely see a player playing in another gear. Moving him inside gives Reagor more space to work with, where he will routinely leave defenders in the dust.
The second bit of news is something we all know. Jalen Hurts taking over as the Eagles’ starting quarterback. Watching Wentz struggle game in and game out in such a winnable division showed how lost he was in Philadelphia. Giving the reigns to Hurts allows Reagor to develop his game alongside the quarterback of the future.
Here are my 2021 Projections for Reagor:
67 receptions for 767 yards and five touchdowns on 18% Target Share. Good enough for 173.5 PPR fantasy points.
While the Eagles have frequently whiffed drafting wide receivers this last decade, I believe the Eagles have finally found their Batman and Robin.