PHILADELPHIA – The question posed Monday night to Philadelphia fan Tom Cunningham was rather simple: Why didn’t it work out with the Eagles for wide receiver Jalen Reagor?
“Because he’s not very good,’’ Cunningham said.
Eagles fans continue to grumble about Philadelphia’s decision in the 2020 draft to bypass LSU receiver Justin Jefferson with the No. 21 pick and instead take Reagor out of TCU. Jefferson, of course, then went No. 22 to the Vikings and has developed into one of the top receivers in the NFL.
Meanwhile, after two uninspiring seasons, Reagor was traded by Philadelphia last month to Minnesota for a 2024 conditional fourth- or fifth-round draft pick and a 2023 seventh-round round selection. And on Monday night, Reagor returned to Lincoln Financial Field for a 24-7 loss to the Eagles.
That brought up some unpleasant memories for Eagles fans. Cunningham said before the game he knew immediately when Philadelphia made its pick of Reagor that it was a mistake.
“We were really mad back then,’’ said Cunningham, 63, who was wearing a vintage Randall Cunningham No. 12 jersey and joked that he is of no relation to the former Eagles and Vikings star quarterback. “Obviously, talk radio went crazy when they passed on Jefferson.”
Eagles fans wasted no time Monday night booing Reagor when he stepped on the field for a punt return in the first quarter. When he gained just one yard on the return, the fans cheered. They also booed Reagor in the second quarter, but that came after he had a 17-yard run on a reverse.
Reagor finished with two punt returns for five yards. He also had a seven-yard catch.
Eagles fan Matt Landes, 44, of Exton, Pa., also said before the game he knew it was an error from the start selecting Reagor over Jefferson.
“I thought they were nuts even at the time,’’ Landes said. “You look at Jefferson, a great college career, a big target, great leaping ability, and Reagor wasn’t even on anybody’s radar for a first-round pick. So it didn’t make a lot of sense to us Eagles fans. Why do you pass on a guy like that?’’
Landes is an avid fan. He was decked out before the game in a Super Bowl LII shirt he bought when attending that game at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 that night, making Landes say the $5,000 he paid for his seat in the corner of the end zone was well worth it.
Eagles fan Mike Stevens, 47, of Morgantown, Pa., said he kept an open mind when Philadelphia took Reagor, believing team officials knew what they were doing. But it soon became apparent that it wasn’t going to work out with Reagor.
Reagor caught just 64 passes in his two Eagles seasons and had issues with drops. He did average 9.2 yards on 35 punt returns but had a number of muffs.
“There were high hopes, but for just some reason, it didn’t connect and it wasn’t the right place,’’ Stevens said.
Now, Reagor is Minnesota. In Week 1, he had one punt return for seven yards and didn’t play any snaps from scrimmage in a 23-7 win over Green Bay. But he did at least get his first snaps from scrimmage for the Vikings on Monday.
“He just didn’t have the hands,’’ Landes said of Reagor’s time in Philadelphia. “He wasn’t producing for us. At least we got a little bit of something for him.”