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Jeremy Maclin on Jalen Reagor: 'He's going to be a tremendous talent'

Rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor and former wide receiver Jeremy Maclin have more in common than jersey No. 18.

Chosen in the first round this year out of TCU, 21st overall, Reagor is following the same path that Maclin, picked in the first round of the 2009 Draft from Missouri, 19th overall, once traveled.

The 11 years between the start of their careers benefit the rookie in that he can look at and learn from the retired veteran's own first-year experience.

"I was able to stay fairly healthy my rookie year, but I didn't start the season necessarily the way that I wanted to. I think I played 10 or 12 snaps my first game against Carolina, and I don't even think we ran a pass play when I was in there," says Maclin, who was with the Eagles for five of his eight NFL seasons.

"So, for me, it was all about patience. I thought that I was ready to come in and contribute and be a starter alongside of D-Jack (DeSean Jackson). And they basically made me earn my way. I think as a rookie, independent of what situation you come into, you want everything to happen right away. And sometimes it doesn't happen that way."

Which is something that Reagor may have come to realize. Showing flashes during the season that was interrupted by a five-game stay on Injured Reserve because of a ligament tear in his thumb, he has learned that playing the game has its ups and downs.

"I think for him, you've just got to put everything in perspective. He's going to be a tremendous talent. You can see what he does when he gets the ball in his hands. He's electric," Maclin says. "He can return kicks like he just showed against Green Bay (with a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown). And he can get down the field. (Jalen) Hurts hit him with a nice deep ball (34 yards) down the sideline, as well.

"It's just understanding, hey, you belong in there. And it will come. Right now, things are just ... Everybody's not on the same page. He just needs to understand that he can do it. And then once everybody gets on the right page and everything starts clicking, he'll be just fine. He's healthy, and now it's just all about continuing to get better each and every game.

"And sometimes that doesn't show up on the stat sheet. Sometimes you're going to catch eight balls for 130 (yards) and two touchdowns. Sometimes it's doing the little things to become a complete player. I think that's kind of the outlook that he needs to have and I would say that's how he's got to approach the remainder of the season."                

Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone's lives, much less the NFL season, Maclin feels that how Reagor approaches the upcoming offseason will equally help him become a complete player.

"This year was just such a weird year; 2020 is one that nobody saw coming. Some of these guys got to know each other virtually on Zoom and do FaceTime and other things like that," he says. "So, he didn't get the proper offseason. 

"You look around the league and you see (rookie wide receivers) Chase Claypool and Justin Jefferson having success, and you want Reagor to be in that category. But then those guys are in completely different situations. I don't think it's fair to judge anybody off of what's going on right now in 2020. I think that this offseason for him is going to be huge."

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