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Who benefits from Jalen Reagor’s injury?

John Hightower’s chances of seeing significant snaps just went up.

(Pool Photo) Chris Szagola/Associated Press.

When media reports first trickled in regarding first round rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor’s injury at training camp on Sunday, folks feared the worst.

BLG reported Reagor walked off the field after tackling a defender to the ground.

Jalen Reagor left practice early after suffering some kind of upper body arm. The Eagles’ 2020 first-round pick stayed on the ground for a bit after Avonte Maddox forced a pass breakup meant for him in team drills. Reagor jogged off the field holding his wrist/arm and was evaluated by trainers on the sideline before walking back to the locker room.

Hey, young man, in training camp, it’s OK to let the defender go.

Happily, it sounds as if the Reagor injury isn’t as catastrophic as it otherwise could have been.

And Reagor himself is optimistic as well.

How soon?

The Eagles’ season opener against the Washington Football Team in DC is on September 13th, two weeks from the date of the injury. That means Reagor is all but certain to miss at least the Washington game as well as Philadelphia’s Week 2 match-up against the L.A. Rams at home. Week 3’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 27 would seem to be the earliest he could return, although Week 4’s Sunday Night battle against the San Francisco 49ers might be more likely. Week 5 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh would seemingly be a lock, if the four-week timeline is accurate.

But that’s only if the Eagles’ injury luck changes at some point.

For the next month, other receivers must fill the void. Thankfully, it is the receiving corps who has perhaps been the team’s best unit in training camp this summer.

Reagor was slated to start on the outside along with DeSean Jackson, but that job may now go to second-year receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who by all accounts has had a decent camp to this point.

Arcega-Whiteside has been dominant inside the red zone this summer, giving Eagles QBs a big target at the goal line. It’s likely he’ll get the first crack at starting reps once the season begins, however, JJAW doesn’t have the dynamic speed or playmaking ability Reagor does, so when Doug Pederson wants to put two burners on the field, he may turn to another rookie wide receiver who has opened eyes in camp this year.

John Hightower, the Eagles’ 5th round pick in last spring’s Draft, has caught everything thrown his way, made spectacular catches on the reg, and hasn’t dropped a thing. Unlike JJAW, Hightower is a burner in the mold of Reagor and Jackson, and could see significant snaps at the start of the season.

There is one additional receiver who could benefit from Reagor’s absence, and that’s Deontay Burnett, the former New York Jet who was signed by the team late last year.

Burnett probably doesn’t crack the starting lineup and, with Jackson, Greg Ward, JJAW and Hightower all likely ahead of him in the pecking order, he may only get 3-4 targets a game. But he’s shown the ability to get open and make big time plays, both with the Jets last year and in last season’s all-important Week 17 win against the Giants.

Losing Reagor for around four weeks is a bummer, but it could have been a lot worse. And it appears the Eagles have some better options to stem the tide until the rookie wideout is ready to make his NFL debut.

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