Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Everything about the 2020 season is a question mark because of Covid-19. One of the questions is, “How can the rookies make an impact without an offseason?”. This question was posed to Super Champion and former Eagles WR Torrey Smith on an Eagles Virtual Q & A with Eagles Season Ticket Holders on Monday. His answer might surprise you. He said “Yes, they can make an impact, they are more prepared than my rookie class in 2011”. Torrey was talking about his rookie year of 2011 with the Ravens. For those who don’t remember 2011 was the NFL lockout, which kept all players away from NFL facilities from early March until the last week of July. Not only did it keep them away from the facility like this year, it also shutdown any communication with the teams. Smith noted. “I was drafted and then we’ll see ya when this is settled”. He mentioned he didn’t even have a playbook to learn the offense. All the rookies were just left in the dark until the lockout was over. Torrey mentioned that even though the 2020 season has many challenges, the rookies will be way more prepared for 2020 than the class of 2011. He noted the advances in technology (Zoom Meetings), having a playbook and the ability to speak with the coaches will give them a leg up that he and his fellow rookies didn’t have. While there is no doubt the 2020 rookies are disadvantage compared to most years but 2011 can be a blueprint to bring them up to speed quicker than normal
So let’s take a look at the Smith’s rookie season and see how he did. Can a rookie receiver be a contributor this year?
Receptions Yards Avg Lng TD 1st Dwn 20+ 40+
50 841 16.8 74 7 34 14 4
Would you be happy with a similar rookie year for Jalen. My answer is absolutely! If Reagor’s numbers are similar I would say he would be in the running for Rookie of the Year.
Will the 2020 rookies be behind prior years? Yes! But that doesn’t mean the year will be a wash. If Jalen produces the way Torrey did in 2011, the Eagles could be well on their way to back to back NFC East titles.
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor warms-up during an NFL football training camp practice in Philadelphia, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (Yong Kim/Pool Photo via AP)