The Eagles took a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft, but it wasn't the one many fans expected.
That's because they went with Texas Christian receiver Jalen Reagor with their pick at No. 21 on Thursday night, even though one of the perceived top four wide receivers was still available in LSU's Justin Jefferson
"This is a very good receiver draft, and there are a lot of different flavors," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "Everyone had their favorite type. There was a lot debate and discussion, a lot of good players at that position in this draft. But Jalen fit something that we were really looking for.
"His ability to contribute as a receiver, as a returner, and the ability to be explosive with the ball in his hands."
The Eagles had a chance to move up for CeeDee Lamb, the Oklahoma receiver who was still available after pick No. 16. But the Dallas Cowboys, drafting next, took Lamb.
Roseman said receivers he might have wanted to trade up for "weren't in range where it was even a consideration where we could get somewhere without (giving up) a really high pick."
Roseman was referring to either the Eagles' second or third-round picks.
The other top receivers in Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy went No. 12 to the Raiders and No. 15 to Denver, respectively.
But the Eagles could have gotten Jefferson at No. 21, after Miami at No. 18 and Jacksonville at No. 20 passed.
The Eagles valued speed, and Reagor was considered one of the three fastest receivers in the draft, along with Ruggs and Penn State's K.J. Hamler.
"You see the separation on tape," Roseman said. "You see the vertical separation as an outside receiver, and those things are hard to find. When you look at this draft as guys who can separate as an outside, vertical receiver, there aren't a lot of those guys.
"That really fits our quarterback's skill set. Our quarterback likes to throw the ball down the field, and make vertical throws."
Reagor, who's 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, ran a 4.47 in the 40 at the NFL Combine, slower than both Ruggs at 4.27 and Jefferson at 4.43. But Roseman talked about how the speed in the 40 can be deceptive.
Besides, Reagor's vertical leap was 42 inches, one of the best at the NFL Combine.
"I play like I'm 6-4, even though I'm 5-11," Reagor said.
Added Eagles coach Doug Pederson: "This guy can not only stretch the field, but his vertical for a 5-(11) guy, he can elevate. He can get balls above the rim. He has the flexibility of playing outside and inside."
The Eagles are intrigued about pairing him with DeSean Jackson, giving the
Eagles two speedy receivers.
So is Reagor
"It'll make us way more explosive," Reagor said. "Just giving us another deep threat. DeSean is a great, speedy receiver. He can do anything you ask him to, and I feel like I'm another one that can do anything you ask of me ... I feel like I'm going to be another asset to help this team be greater than it already is."
Reagor is the son of former NFL defensive lineman Montae Reagor, a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1999. He spent four years with the Broncos and four more with the Colts before.
Montae Reagor also played for the Eagles as a reserve in 2007, his final season in the NFL. Jalen said his father was ecstatic on hearing his son was drafted by his former team.
As a junior, Reagor had 43 receptions for 611 yards, 14.2 average and five touchdowns. It was a dropoff from his sophomore season when Reagor had 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and 9 TDs.
But some of that could be explained by poor quarterback play as two of the Horned Frogs' top three quarterbacks left the team during the season. TCU finished the season with a true freshman at quarterback.
"It was a learning experience," Reagor said. "It gave me a chance to show what type of real teammate and real person that I am. Ultimately, it was tough, but it was something that I wouldn't make an excuse for ... I feel like it made me a better player, a better person, a better teammate."
The Eagles clearly needed to upgrade at wide receiver. They didn't address the position in free agency. And they might not be done in the draft, with Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night, followed by Rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
And things started to fall the Eagles' way early when Jacksonville at No. 9 went for cornerback C.J. Henderson, leaving the top four receivers still available.
The run on receivers started at No. 12, when the Las Vegas Raiders took Ruggs. But the next two teams (San Francisco and Tampa Bay swapped spots) didn't go wide receiver. The meant three of the four receivers were still available with seven picks until the Eagles.
But Denver took Ruggs' teammate at Alabama in Jeudy at No. 15. Then Dallas, at No. 17, took Lamb.
When Jacksonville picked defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson at No. 20, Jefferson was available. The Eagles passed and took Reagor. Jefferson went next to Minnesota.
Still, it was the most unusual of NFL drafts. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks from the basement of his suburban New York City home instead of at the fountains of The Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The coaches, general managers and scouting personnel were all working remotely from their individual homes. And instead of a room with all the top picks, with their family members accompanying them, the draftees were in their own homes with maybe a few people around them.
Still, Reagor was ecstatic, and so were the Eagles.