NFL draft: Jalen Reagor’s swift ascent is slowed down

TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 27, 2020.
TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor runs a drill at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Feb. 27.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

Two wide receivers showed up to the NFL scouting combine with the expectation of running the fastest 40-yard dash. Jalen Reagor of Texas Christian was unafraid to be bold before the clock would tell the tale between him and Henry Ruggs III of Alabama.

“He runs after me. I’m going to set the bar for him,” Reagor said.

Reagor arrived at the combine 11 pounds heavier than his playing weight of 195 at TCU, hoping to show teams that he could still be an electric playmaker with added size.

His hope was to run a time in the high-4.2 to low-4.3 range but came up way short at 4.47 seconds.

Ruggs, meanwhile, blazed a 4.27-second path straight into the first round of the draft.

This result was debilitating for the 5-foot-11 Reagor, who has to convince scouts of his elite speed. But it might not end up as devastating.

Reagor went back to Texas and focused on getting his body right. On April 8, he performed a video workout and sent it out for teams. His weight was listed as 197.6 pounds.

He was clocked at 4.22 and 4.28 seconds by separate timers.

For teams looking for a difference-maker in the slot and carrying the ball — either on jet sweeps or kick and punt returns — will Reagor’s new 40 times serve as enough evidence for late first-round or early second-round consideration?

There are receivers with far less risk, but it’s a deep class, and there is no shortage of demand for players with Reagor’s skills in today’s NFL.

“Big play waiting to happen,” Reagor said. “Very versatile. I can make something happen in situations that you might not think I can. I’m coming to make an impact wherever I go.”

Advertisement‘s analysis predicts Reagor to be a starter within two years. His strengths — speed, instincts with the ball and a 42-inch vertical leap to help catch high-point passes — appear to outweigh the weaknesses.

Reagor compares himself to the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel, the Bills’ Stefon Diggs and the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill. He says he watches film of Hill “every day.”

“His versatility, his size, very quick receiver, very fast,” Reagor said. “You can use him anywhere on the field. You put him in the backfield and he can just do everything, and when you can do everything in the NFL, you’re pretty valuable.”

One thing that Reagor has in his corner is that his father, Montae, played eight years in the league as a defensive lineman, helping the Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2006.

Reagor’s father, drafted out of Texas Tech as a second-round pick of the Broncos in 1999, provided some advice about being a rookie that should prove to be more valuable than time shaved off a 40 time.

“You have to be a sponge,” Reagor said, “soak everything up. Go in knowing that everybody might not help you. You might be taking someone’s job, food off someone’s plate. So, you’ve got to go in with a business mindset.”