Eagles first-round pick Jalen Reagor is expected to miss several weeks with a torn thumb ligament.
The team announced that the rookie receiver’s injury, which is similar to one suffered last year by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, was sustained in Sunday’s 37-19 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
For reference, Brees missed five weeks with the thumb injury on his throwing hand and had to wear a wrap on it once he was back. It’s safe to assume Reagor will need surgery to repair the issue, and he’s likely to go on injured reserve while he’s on the mend.
The Eagles took Reagor with the No. 21 pick in last April’s NFL draft in an effort to improve a receiving corps that was unproductive in 2019. He missed part of training camp with a shoulder injury but returned ahead of schedule for the season opener against Washington. He left the Week 2 matchup against the Rams near the beginning of the second quarter but only missed a few plays. He finished the game with four catches for 41 yards.
Reagor had one catch against Washington in the season opener, a 55-yard reception on which he reached a top speed of 20.27 mph to cast away any doubt surrounding his speed translating in the NFL.
Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert said he was already noticing the 21-year-old out of TCU demanding a cushion from opposing defenses even though Reagor is still wet behind the ears.
“Even just the first two games, you’ve seen the safeties deeper than they were last year for sure,” Goedert said. “It’s going to be a big loss. He’s a young player, he was starting to catch his stride and I think he was just going to be climbing all season. As a rookie, he was just going to get better and better.”
Reagor started both games and played 72% of the team’s offensive snaps in addition to sharing the punt-return role with Greg Ward. With Alshon Jeffery still recovering from a foot injury, the team has just four healthy receivers on the active roster: DeSean Jackson, Ward, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and John Hightower.
Jackson also missed Wednesday’s practice with a scheduled rest day and is playing about 66% of the team’s offensive snaps as the Eagles try to keep him healthy by managing his workload.
“It’s a hit, he’s a talented guy,” cornerback Darius Slay said. “I’ve been working with him hard, making him try to be one of the best young receivers in this league. I know when he does, he’ll come back and play hard, though."
Reagor’s absence will put even more focus on the team’s tight ends. The Eagles run the most two-tight-end formations by a wide margin, and Goedert is the team’s most-targeted pass catcher through two games. Zach Ertz is the third-most targeted player, and both tight ends are on pace to have more than 100 targets by season’s end.
The Eagles' offense, which is also missing 2019 first-round pick Andre Dillard at left tackle, has been one of the worst in the league so far this season, ranking last in offensive efficiency by Football Outsiders and posting the fourth-fewest points per game with an average of 18.
“Obviously, when you lose your last two first-round picks, it takes a toll on the offense,” Goedert said. “But we’re going to be all right. We’re going to fight through without him and be excited when he gets back.”