Can the Eagles contain Justin Jefferson? (0:45)

The Eagles are expected to win against the Vikings. There is a time and a place for this.

6:21 AM ET

The Minnesota Vikings were in agreement during the virtual 2020 NFL draft.

They loved the receiver. His skills were thought to translate far beyond the slot role he played in college, and his coaches thought he could play anywhere in their scheme. They held their breath when the Eagles came on the clock at 21. The coach said they were sweating it out.

With four receivers already off the board in a talented class, Jefferson was expected to be drafted by the Eagles. Jefferson also thought that way.

Jefferson said that every mock draft had him in Philadelphia. I was pretty sure I was going to go there when Philly was on the board.

The two general managers talked nervously about the possibilities of the Eagles. If there wasn't a player they loved at 22, they could trade down and pick a corner. The Vikings' manager of player personnel/college scout interrupted with news that the Eagles were selecting a player.

The hype video released by the Vikings Entertainment Network shows Spielman laughing. "Get him on right now," he said with a big smile. After getting up from his chair, he walked around his office. "WOW!" he repeated. This stuff is fun because of that.

The Vikings couldn't believe they landed Justin Jefferson at No. 22 after the Eagles picked Jalen Reagor at No. 21.Now they're both in Minnesota.

(via @Vikings)

— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 31, 2022

The Eagles selection was announced by the commissioner. Jefferson thought the Eagles were making a call. It was the Vikings who told him they would take him. There are many decisions made in every draft of the National Football League. For a long time, some of them echo. The Eagles passed on Jefferson and took Reagor with the 21st pick.

In the first two years of his career, Jefferson has set a league record for most receiving yards in a single season. The Eagles traded Reagor to the Vikings for two future Day 3 picks. He has caught 64 passes for 695 yards since he was drafted. Reagor was affected by the Jefferson comparisons and the injuries.

The consequences of the draft decision will be on display when the Eagles play the Vikings. The field is at Lincoln Financial field. In order to correct their mistake, the Eagles traded up in the 2021 draft to select Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith and then shipped their first and third-round picks to the TennesseeTitans for A.J. Brown.

Jefferson is in his third year of a five-year contract.

"I'm not going to lie, I'm going to tell the truth," Roseman said. It would be great to have that moment back.

Illustration by ESPN

The Eagles training camp is close to a safe house. The crowd is limited due to a lack of space around the fields. The environment supports the person. The middle-aged man enthusiastically called out "Reagor!" as the receiver passed by, causing Reagor, 23, to offer back a thumbs up. The fan yelled: "You suck!", causing a few laughs but also stunned silence from nearby fans. Reagor bowed his head and put his hands together as he left. It was that way for him in Philadelphia from the beginning.

The consequences of getting a first-round draft pick wrong can last a long time. Roseman was behind the eight ball because of the decision to take Reagor over Jefferson.

He had to spend a lot of money over the next two years to make up for the mistake. Jefferson's base salaries over the next two seasons would have alleviated the need to chase after receiver assistance.

* Games started.

The primary error Philadelphia made in its evaluation of Jefferson was that he would be limited to the role of slot receiver in the pros; he had run 563 of his 574 total routes from the slot or in line atLSU in 2019. Reagor was thought to be a better scheme to use as a burner. Reagor was projected as a second-round pick in the 2020 mock draft by the analyst.

Roseman said that the message was that we have to take the best players. We don't have to worry about fit or anything like that. We had two tight ends who were really good in the middle of the field and Greg Ward was coming off of a really good year in the slot. The role we were looking for was a specific one. It's on me. I am responsible for all of that. If I make a mistake, I will do everything I can to make it right.

Roseman's reputation took a hit after the Eagles won the only Super Bowl in franchise history in 2017! The Reagor-over-Jefferson gripe was the main example of how the team had lost it's way. Roseman was ranked second on Bill Barnwell's list of the best offseasons, which included the Brown trade. In his first game with the Eagles, Brown caught 10 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver Jalen Reagor struggled with injuries and living up to first-round expectations while in Philadelphia. Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

Reagor couldn't turn the corner. He tore his shoulder on the last day of training camp, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. He tore his thumb in Week 2 against the Rams and missed the rest of the season. He didn't play the next five games. As he worked to establish himself in the league, he was constantly compared to Jefferson.

According to a source close to Reagor, it made him lose his mind. It was big time.

Jefferson was tagged on social media posts from fans and media members that were critical of Reagor.

Jefferson said that he couldn't blame him for being picked by Philadelphia. I felt bad for him at that time because he was getting a lot of backlash. He did not request any of that. He was drafted to the team he was drafted to. I didn't like it for him, but I'm happy he's on our team.

He tried to block out the noise with social media but it didn't work out.

It wasn't very enjoyable for Reagor. Dallas Goedert said that he had a difficult time. He was always putting his head down and working. I respected him very much. He didn't complain much. He was here to improve. The man tried.

When you're the first-round pick, you don't do what everyone expects. You get knocked down a lot in Philadelphia. He kept going to work. I'm looking forward to a new chapter in his life.

Reagor isn't expected to carry first round expectations in Minnesota. He is seen as a punt returner and reserve receiver by the Vikings. He punted for an average of 20.8 yards per punt. In the first week of the season, Reagor returned a punt for 7 yards but didn't get a chance to catch it.

Reagor said it was a chance to show what he could do. The game will come to me and I will make the most of it. What's fast doesn't last and what's slow doesn't last.

He said that good things take time.

JEFFERSON PLACED NO. 7 among all players in ESPN's 2022 NFL Rank project. Only one receiver ranked ahead of him, the Los Angeles Rams' Cooper Kupp at No. 4. Jefferson predicted this summer he will be recognized as the league's top receiver by the end of the 2022 season.

Jefferson has been able to line up as both an outside and slot receiver. He has gained two-thirds of his yards when he's outside at the snap and the other third when he's in the slot. Kevin O'Connell had Jefferson lined up in the backfield twice and as a tight end once against the Packers in the first week of the season.

O'Connell credited Justin for being able to handle a lot. He's moved a lot by us. He's asked to play many responsibilities. He is more than just an X receiver that lines up over here. We don't want that to happen.

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Jefferson's instincts and competitiveness were concluded during pre-draft analysis.

Last year, Spielman said that he was a unique route runner. He can catch the ball and get it up the field.

Jefferson has a knack for making difficult catches. Jefferson has ranked in the top 6 since the beginning of the 2020 season.

KirkCousins noted Jefferson's ability to slip through a defense and into the end zone when he catches the ball. Jefferson has scored 19 touchdown and 58 were caught short of the goal since he joined the league. Davante Adams has led the league with 30 touchdown in that time frame. In the end zone, Adams has caught more than half of the scores.

There was a display of Jefferson's skills in the first week. The ball was thrown over the middle to Jefferson, who caught it and ran down the sideline. Jefferson ducked under Alexander's attempt to shove him out of bounds to score the touchdown.

The ability to finish plays is a trait that I believe is special. Many men go to the 3 or the 1. It makes a difference for our team winning football if we don't have to mess with the goal-line offense. I told him that he was a great football player because of that.

The Vikings enjoyed the financial benefit of buying Jefferson. He isn't eligible for an extension until after this season, so they can fit his salary under their salary cap. The Vikings will pay their entire receiving corps less than the Eagles in the years to come.

Two teams are on vastly different paths after a single draft decision. Both the Vikings and Eagles have a strong group of pass catchers. The path of the Eagles was more difficult and expensive because of a draft mistake.