Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers came into the 2020 NFL Draft needing to address their hole at wide receiver. Luckily for both squads, this was one of the deepest drafts for the said position in years. Philadelphia went on and picked TCU’s Jalen Reagor 21st overall, while San Francisco ended up selecting Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk at no.26.
Both Reagor and Aiuyuk are intriguing prospects, but who could end up having a better NFL career?
Here’s the breakdown:
The one key thing that Jalen Reagor brings to the Philadelphia Eagles will be his amazing speed. Extremely fast and unbelievably quick, Reagor is a threat by the time he releases off the line of scrimmage. He’s very explosive as he cuts and change directions. He can beat defenders and creates separation on the sprint and make himself an easy open target for Carson Wentz. His speed can force opposing teams to stretch their defenses to compensate for how fast he can fly.
That attribute also helps the 21-year-old former Horned Frog become a versatile threat. Not only can he use his speed and explosiveness lining up as a receiver on the offensive side of the ball, he can potentially be a dangerous kick returner for the Eagles for their special teams.
Jalen Reagor still has ways to go, however. His route running is far from being a finished work and needs a lot of coaching. And although the rookie Eagle possesses a solid frame, he doesn’t have the ideal size for a wide receiver being listed at 5’11”, and could bring along issues battling for 50-50 balls due to the lack of length.
Brandon Aiyuk’s main calling card coming in will be his ability to get yards after the catch (YACs). Just like his new teammates tight-end George Kittle and wide-receiver Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk is exceptional at making defenders miss and is very difficult to put down.
Another strength that Aiyuk has in his tool chest that could make him a terrific NFL wideout lies in his measurements. Possessing an impressive 6-foot-9 inch wingspan and with 9 and 3/4 inch hands, Aiyuk has the physical tools to make big plays down the field. Those long arms and huge mitts could be the difference between winning out on 50-50 plays and can be a legitimate red-zone threat for Jimmy Garropolo.
As with Reagor, Aiyuk still has some improvements to make before he could become a very good wideout. Despite being able to make cuts with fluidity, his relative lack of speed could hinder his effectiveness against NFL defensive backs. Also, like Reagor, Aiyuk needs to improve on his route running.
The 49ers and the Eagles have promising young wide receivers on their hands. Both Reagor and Aiyuk have the raw talent and physical abilities that can be polished, and both have weaknesses that need work. The two are going to benefit from playing for teams with extremely good quarterbacks and great offensive schemes, giving them all the opportunity they need to showcase their skills.
But in the end, it’s more likely that Jalen Reagor will have a better NFL career. His threat not only on the offensive side of the ball, but also on special teams as a returner could put him in a better position to be more productive to his squad than Brandon Aiyuk.
By a slim margin, Jalen Reagor gets the nod, and could finish with a better NFL career.