Falcons Advised to Sign Eagles Draft Flop

Jalen Reagor

Getty Will the Falcons add a former first-round pick to their wide receiver room?

Retooling their options at wide receiver hasn’t been easy for the Atlanta Falcons. Calvin Ridley’s suspension, coupled with the departure of Russell Gage in free agency, left general manager Terry Fontenot scrambling for solutions.

Fontenot has sought quantity as a remedy. He made three low-key and short-term signings in free agency and brought back Olamide Zaccheaus.

The Falcons’ only splash move at the position involved Fontenot using the eighth-overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft to select Drake London. His arrival makes things look better at wideout, but another pass-catcher who was once drafted in the first round could still be brought on board.

ALL the latest Falcons news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Falcons newsletter here!

That’s the view of one writer, who believes a player who has flopped with the Philadelphia Eagles should find a new home with the Falcons.

2020 First-Rounder Worth a Trade for Falcons

London is now the headline act in a rotation also featuring Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd, Auden Tate and KhaDarel Hodge. The latter trio all inked one-year deals during free agency.

Their arrivals followed the news of Ridley being suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s betting policies. The Falcons had already struggled without Ridley, following his decision to step away from football during last season for his mental wellbeing.

Russell Gage tried to step up in Ridley’s absence, and his efforts were quietly impressive. Gage led all Falcons wideouts with 66 catches for 770 yards and four touchdowns, but he parlayed those numbers into a move to NFC South rival the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s going to be a tall order for London to emerge as the leading light, even among this group, as a rookie. Some more experience would be welcome, and Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports thinks the Falcons can find it by raiding the Eagles.

Benjamin believes a move for Jalen Reagor makes sense: “Atlanta’s first pick of the 2022 draft addressed receiver, with Drake London stepping in as the team’s new No. 1. That doesn’t mean they should be content with Auden Tate and Olamide Zaccheaus as the other starters, sans a suspended Calvin Ridley. Reagor, meanwhile, was on the outskirts of the Eagles’ rotation even before they landed A.J. Brown, and now he’s wiped his social media accounts (always a sign, in today’s NFL).”

As Benajmin noted, there’s uncertainty about Reagor’s future in Philadelphia. His removal of the team from his social media accounts, per NFL on CBS, only served to fuel rumors already in motion:

There had already been reports Reagor might be dealt, with ESPN’s Tim McManus revealing “the Eagles are open to listening to offers for him, according to league sources. This feels like a situation where a change of scenery would be best for all sides.”

Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman appeared to rebuke any trade talk recently, when he said “Jalen Reagor is a Philadelphia Eagle and he’s going to be here,” per Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper.

Things can change, though, as the Eagles found to their benefit with their own trade involving a wide receiver. If there’s a chance Reagor can be acquired, the Falcons should explore it, despite the player’s struggles to replicate the form he showed at TCU, form that made him the 21st pick two years ago.

Reagor Worth a Risk

A.J. Brown’s arrival is one reason why Reagor might be surplus to requirements in Philadelphia. The Eagles traded the 18th and 101st picks to acquire Brown from the Tennessee Titans, despite the AFC South franchise initially rebuffing offers.

Titans’ GM Jon Robinson told Roseman “repeatedly that he wouldn’t be looking to deal Brown, and that he loved Brown,” according to Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer.

It’s surely not impossible to envisage Roseman having a similar change of heart regarding Reagor. Especially given how much the latter has struggled in the pros.

Reagor averaged over 14 yards per reception in each of his three seasons with TCU, per Sports Reference. He also caught 22 touchdowns.

It’s not unfair to say Reagor has flopped since, particularly given his draft status. He’s made just 64 receptions for 695 yards and three touchdowns.

The output has been scant, but there have been signs of how Reagor can become an effective playmaker in the NFL. He showcased his potential when the Eagles beat the Falcons 32-6 in Week 1 last season.

Reagor got on the scoreboard with this impressive 23-yard catch and run:

The play was simple and high-percentage. A short throw to quickly get the ball into the hands of a speedster.

It’s the same formula the Falcons will surely use this season when Marcus Mariota or rookie Desmond Ridder will replace Matt Ryan at quarterback. Speed and misdirection will become the hallmarks of this passing game.

Players like Byrd, Cordarrelle Patterson and tight end Kyle Pitts fit the new blueprint, and so could Reagor, who might also be an asset in the return game. He’s flashed the most promise as a returner, including this score against the Green Bay Packers from 2020, relayed by NBCS Philly’s John Clark:

There’s work to be done to improve Reagor’s game, particularly the consistency of his hands. Yet, the raw tools are there to develop a player capable of stretching the field in multiple ways.

The Eagles may not need Reagor, but the Falcons could make room for him, provided he could be acquired for a reasonable return. One of next year’s draft picks outside the first round, but no lower than a mid-rounder, should get the Eagles talking.

Read More