If Jalen Reagor falls to the second round, the Chicago Bears may not be able to pass him up
Jalen Reagor is an intriguing prospect with plenty of upside. A gold medal track star in high school, Reagor transferred his skills to a football field as a freshman at TCU. Reagor scored eight touchdowns as a true freshman and was named Co-Big 12 Freshman of the year.
As a true sophomore, he put up over 1,000 yards to go with nine touchdowns, earning All-Big 12 honors. His stats took a drop in 2019 as he only had 611 yards on 43 catches. Still, he finished his career averaging over 15 yards per catch with 22 touchdowns and over 300 rushing yards as well. Reagor is a dynamic return threat as well, adding a punt return touchdown as a junior.
Is the big play ability worth a draft pick, or do the Chicago Bears have other needs to pass on the explosive receiver?
Reagor is a legitimate speed threat who can take the top off on any play. His intricate route work helps free up space deep down the field and create separation. A lot of the drop in his stats had to do with missed chances down the field with Reagor open.
Reagor also has the strength to work with the ball in his hands after the catch. His balance allows him to bounce off of tacklers. This shows in his return ability as well, which is an added bonus. Reagor is versatile and can add value as a deep ball pass catcher, a run after the catch receiver, and a player who can work on the outside and in the slot.
Reagor can suffer concentration drops. He has the ability to high point catches and make acrobatic plays. However, the simple ones can go through his hands as he turns his eyes upfield too early. Reagor can also be outsized in contested catch scenarios. He comes in a bit under 6′ and likely less than 200 pounds. He is built thick, but his physical prowess on the outside can be matched in the NFL.
Reagor can be applied in the NFL in a similar manner to Brandin Cooks. There is a reason that Sean Payton, Josh McDaniels, and Sean McVay all had a desire to add Cooks to their offense. The added spark of splash plays is needed.
There is also the versatility factor. Both can be worked with screens and bombs. Cooks has gone over the middle often, and Reagor can in the same way. On top of that, Cooks worked as a return man in the New Orleans days. The instant impact and big-play ability from all areas is similar to Cooks.
Fit with Chicago Bears
Without a first-round pick, the Bears would need to take Reagor in the second round. His disappointing 2019 may have pushed him out of the first round but would be hard to see his talent leaving round two.
The question then becomes whether he is a player who can put the Bears offense over the top. They only have so many picks, and offensive line, quarterback and tight end come to mind as needs.
However, if they are looking for a direct replacement for Taylor Gabriel, Reagor is the fit. The deep threat that he brings to an offense opens up other pieces. His speed threat makes the team less reliant on Tarik Cohen for explosion.
The team has Javon Wims and Riley Ridley, but neither brings that speed or downfield playmaking that Reagor has.
It may not be the biggest need, and the team may feel that they can find a Gabriel replacement in a later round or a cheaper talent, but they may also see a discount on Reagor after a down 2019. If he is their best player available, you know they will take him.