The Eagles, looking for a wide receiver with the 21st overall pick passed on Jefferson, who was later the sixth-wide receiver taken in the draft by the Vikings just a pick later.
Philadelphia’s draft blunder is still a sore spot in the Eagles fan base. Jefferson stoked those flames with a recent comment he made ahead of a primetime Monday Night Football matchup in Philadelphia.
Justin Jefferson Says He’s Happier With Vikings Instead of Eagles
In a September 16 press conference, Jefferson addressed his feelings in hindsight since the Eagles passed on him.
“Every mock draft had me going to Philly, so when Philly was on the board, getting the phone call, and it being Minnesota, it was definitely a shock. But I’m definitely happy — way happier — to be here than there,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson’s words come in the wake of the Eagles cutting weight with Jalen Reagor, the receiver they selected before Jefferson — a draft blunder that has precedent in Philadelphia where they haven’t drafted and developed receivers well in the past.
Justin Jefferson Caused a ‘Rift’ in Eagles Organization
After Jefferson landed in Minnesota, he made a promise to every team that didn’t believe in him back in 2020.
“Every single person that picked a receiver instead of me are going to pay,” Jefferson said in 2020 on The Zach Gelb Show on CBS Sports Radio. “I’m going to show them that I am the better receiver.”
The Eagles didn’t see the same payoff from their first-round wide receiver that the Vikings did. Reagor, struggling through injury, posted 31 receptions for 396 yards and a touchdown, while Jefferson broke the rookie receiving yards record with 88 receptions for 1,400 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
NFL insider John Clayton reported an “internal rift” inside the Eagles organization, saying some wanted to draft Jefferson over Reagor.
“They’ve done a terrible job as far as drafting wide receivers,” Clayton said in December 2020. “I was even hearing last week that there’s been internal rifts about drafting Jefferson versus Reagor with some wanting Jefferson, and Jefferson being one of the best rookies in the league this year and Reagor just starting to come around but not doing well.”
Philadelphia eventually cast out Reagor, ironically trading him to Minnesota in exchange for a 2023 seventh-round pick and a 2024 conditional fourth-round pick that could become a fifth-rounder if Reagor doesn’t pan out how the Vikings hope he will.
Jalen Reagor Ready for a Fresh Start With Vikings
Reagor bears the label of a reclamation project after the Eagles cut their losses with the former first-round pick.
However, Reagor isn’t ready to pick up the slight against him so soon.
“I feel welcomed being here,” Reagor said in a September 5 press conference following his trade from Philadelphia. “It’s just another opportunity to show what I can do. I’m going to make the most of it and let everything come to me.”
Asked if he views his return to Lincoln Financial Field as a revenge game, Reagor leaned into the animosity he may face from Eagles fans.
“Of course, why not?” he said on September 16, per the Pioneer Press. “But I’m not going to go into the game pressing. Just going to let the game come to me. Whatever plays I make, make the best of them.”