DeVonta Smith’s effect on Jalen Reagor in Eagles’ mailbag

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Eagles mailbag: How much will DeVonta Smith help Jalen Reagor? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We got a lot of good questions this weekend.

I answered the first bunch on Saturday. You can read that here.

But we have plenty more as we continue.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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So in your group of five, you left out John Hightower and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Neither of those cuts would come as a great shock. But I will say that Trevon Grimes has an uphill battle as a UDFA in a group with a bunch of young talent.

Nick Sirianni has preached competition since taking the job but the competition at receiver is going to be really fun to watch in training camp. Because even DeVonta Smith is an unproven guy.

Ultimately, I agree with your top five but I’d still have Hightower or even JJAW ahead of Grimes if they keep six.

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I really like this question because it’s also an astute observation. I think the mere presence of Smith will help Reagor quite a bit on and off the field.

On the field is pretty obvious. You add another good skill player to the field, it takes the attention off Reagor and opens things up a little more for him. And Smith will just make the overall offense better.

But the off the field component is just more interesting to me. Getting back to that competition aspect, Smith is an absolute competitor and comes from Alabama, where he played with three other first-round receivers who were all battling to be the alpha. That mentality will go a long way in the Eagles’ receiver room. In addition to that, Smith has a really high football IQ and his ability to gain edges through film study will hopefully rub off on his teammates.

I wouldn’t write off Reagor after a disappointing rookie season. Even aside from the injuries, the Eagles’ offense was a mess last season. This year, Reagor will hopefully be healthy, will have a more stable offense and a coaching staff with a better understanding of how to play to his strengths. Reagor might never be as good as Justin Jefferson but the qualities that made him a first-round pick are still in there and I’m looking forward to seeing his progression in 2022. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon that rookie receivers have big seasons. Not all that long ago, it was understood that there was a learning curve. The Eagles are hoping that’s the case with Reagor.

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I thought someone would never ask. I spent way too much time on this:

Jalen Hurts: This one was obvious. He’s fast, smooth and has an arm. He’ll need to work on his accuracy here.

Greg Ward Jr.: A former college quarterback and short-area quickness. But a receiver, he also has good hands.

Miles Sanders: If you can dodge a linebacker, you can dodge a ball.

Avonte Maddox: I was hesitant to put a DB on this list because of their lack of hands, but Maddox has a baseball background and I think that will help here.

Lane Johnson: Former college quarterback. Maybe he’s too big but Lane is here for trash talking and intimidation.

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Elliott is the only kicker on the roster and the Eagles don’t have much of an option. If they were to release Elliott after June 1, they would be left with around $2 million in dead money but at least that wouldn’t raise his cap hit like cutting him now would do. The bottom line is that the five-year contract Elliott signed in 2019 means he’s not going anywhere this year unless things get really bad. The Eagles could theoretically cut him before the 2022 season but they’re going to hope he can turn things around this upcoming year first.

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