Going into this season, Jalen Reagor had some pretty high expectations. Rightfully so, he was the No. 1 wide receiver for TCU with 72 receptions for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. Unfortunately, the No. 1 wide receiver didn’t match the expectations that were set for him in 2019.
He finished his junior season with only 43 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns. Not great when the average fan looks at the box score. I’m here to tell you that the box score can fool you. His stat line isn’t pretty compared to other wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft but neither were the passes that were intended for him.
According to Sports Info Solutions, he had 92 targets but only 55 of those were catchable. He had the lowest completion percentage of any wide receiver in the SIS database with a 46.7 completion percentage. An area that he’ll have to improve on though is the dropped passes. Reagor did have nine drops on the season and will have to improve that as he prepares for the next level.
As for his track speed, it’s the real deal and it wouldn’t be surpassing if he had one of the fastest times of any player at the NFL Scouting Combine. During the summer, he checked in on Bruce Feldman’s “Freak List” at No. 21 and a lot of that is because he has been clocked at running the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds. Going beyond the box score, Reagor flashes his next-level potential.
Hitch routes and yards after the catch
Offenses that have a tendency to run a high percentage of run-pass options or use the quick passing game, are going to fall in love with Reagor’s skillset. In fact, that’s what TCU did most with him in the 2019 season, as he only averaged about 6.64 yards per target. One route he ran quite a bit was the hitch route.
On the play above versus Purdue, the cornerback is aligned about 12 yards off the ball and this gives a big enough cushion for Reagor to execute the hitch route with ease. The route isn’t really defined, he just goes out there, strides to six yards and looks to create some yards after the catch. He does just that after breaking off the initial tackle and gaining a few extra yards.
Actually, it was surprising to see Reagor creating these yards after the catch because the stat line tells a different story. During the season, he only had 162 yards after the catch (SIS). The play above is no different from the previous play. The cornerback is aligned a little closer to Reagor but he runs the hitch route and then attempts to run upfield but cutting inside on the cornerback. Once the cornerback commits inside, he’s able to bounce up towards the sideline and picks up the first down.
Swing screens and wide receiver screens
When you have the ability to make defenders miss in the short areas of the field, there’s a pretty good chance that there will be designed plays for you. That’s no different for Reagor. From games against Oklahoma to Texas, it was clear that TCU was trying to get their speed to the field side.
Above, TCU comes out in an empty formation and are looking to get Reagor to use his speed to the field side (to the right of the ball). By getting his speed in space, it should create some type of positive yardage or lead to a big play for a touchdown. Before the snap, Reagor will go in an orbit motion and as the H-back follows behind the pulling right guard, the swing screen is there for the quarterback to throw towards Reagor. Unfortunately, the Horned Frogs are outnumbered 4 to 3 on the field side and despite some good blocks set by the wide receivers upfield, there’s not much that can be done other than the yardage that was gain.
This time, Reagor is aligned in the backfield. Seeing him back there is a lot of fun and it gives the offense a different dynamic but it also tips the hand of the offense that there’s a good chance that he’s getting the football. Regardless, he’s aligned in the backfield and he simply swings out to the field side and gets the pass thrown his way. He secures the catch and makes his way up field. Despite the gain only being 6 or 7 yards, he’s able to show how shifty he is in space by making defenders miss. This type of ability will be coveted by offenses all across the NFL.
Lastly, we get a designed wide receiver screen. TCU throws to the left but, once again, the field side. They’re aligned in a trips left formation. As his one block is established near the area of where he caught the ball, Reagor quickly cuts up field and jukes the safety out of his shoes. It’s just a minimal gain but that short area quickness will be pivotal to his success at the next level.
Reverse for big gain
Speed kills. For Reagor, he’ll have to use it every chance he gets at the next level. That’s not because he’s not talented but as you can see, it’s a trend of plays being designed simply for him. An NFL head coach and coordinator are going to see what he provides and will figure out how to get him the ball as consistently as they can, especially on these types of designed plays.
Despite only having 35 career rushing attempts for 324 yards and two touchdowns, Reagor has that big play ability whenever he touches the football. In 2018, he had a carry go for 83 yards. Much like all of the previous plays shown, the Horned Frogs run the ball towards the field side and they just want to get that speed in space. Looking like a fluid athlete, Reagor is able to get into space and pick up a big first down as the Horned Frogs are pushing towards the end-zone against Oklahoma.
Stats do hold some value but they can also be deceiving. Don’t get me wrong, Reagor has got to make sure he catches the ball more consistently. Having nine drops and a drop rate of 16.4% (SIS), that will be alarming to any team that does their homework on him. But if they do their homework properly, there’s more to his game and he can be utilized in so many ways. To say he’s a “Swiss Army Knife” could be an understatement.
I am a big fan of TCU WR Jalen Reagor. 72 receptions for 1061 yards & 9 TDs in 2018. Former 4 ⭐️ recruit who decommited from Oklahoma & chose TCU. His dad, Montae Reagor played DE at Texas Tech & was an All-American in ‘98. 58th pick (Round 2) in the 1999 NFL Draft by Denver. pic.twitter.com/RBT6gtwW0i
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) July 11, 2019
Whether he’s aligned in the back field, running an orbit motion or just aligned as a slot receiver, you can create a mismatch against plenty of defenders. According to the TCU team website, he’s listed at 5-11 and 195 pounds. Not as big as wide receivers like Chase Claypool or Tee Higgins but he wins in so many ways that those bigger receivers can’t.
The former four-star recruit has legitimate track speed. Beyond just that, he’s been a solid route runner in his career. With his route running ability and quickness, he should be able to generate a fair amount of separation at the next level.
As you’ve already seen, he wins a fair amount of reps in the short area of the field. Currently, he’s the 49th ranked player on my big board. That won’t be his final ranking, though. There’s a good chance that he shoots up my board because I really do like his skillset. He has the potential to become the versatile asset that an NFL franchise covets for a player that has speed to burn. Don’t be surprised if we see Reagor get taken early on the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft or possibly slide into the first round.