CFL Star Begelton May Be This Year's Allen Lazard

Former college walk-on is accustomed to overcoming the odds.

One year ago Packer fans were wondering who would emerge as Green Bay's number two receiver opposite Davante Adams. That turned out to be undrafted Allen Lazard who was signed off of the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

As we hopefully approach this year's training camp, there figures to be competition again for that number two spot. If you ask most Packer fans who the likely candidates are, they will reel off the quartet of Lazard, Marques Valdez-Scantling, Devin Funchess, and Equanimeous St. Brown.  They may throw Jake Kumerow into the mix as well.   

They don't seem to give much attention to one other prospect, Reggie Begelton. That's nothing new. Overcoming the odds is something he's accustomed to.

Coming out of high school in Beaumont, Texas Begelton was not highly recruited. He wound up walking on at his hometown school of Lamar University. When he walked away four years later, he was Lamar's all time leader in receptions and receiving yards. The school's website calls him "one of the all time greats in program history". He hauled in 227 passes for 2,435 yards and 20 touchdowns.

At his Pro Day in 2015, Reggie was listed at six feet even and 200 pounds. He was clocked at 4.53 seconds in the 40, and did a 39.5 inch vertical. Several NFL teams were represented at his workout, including the Green Bay Packers, but apparently none were impressed. Begelton went undrafted.

Rather than wait on a free agent offer, he signed with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League in May. The CFL plays during the summer. Again, he fought long odds. Calgary cut him at the end of training camp. But after injuries at the position during the season, the Stamps resigned him in July. He played in nine games in 2017 catching 22 passes for 304 yards and one touchdown in limited action.

In 2018 Calgary was loaded with receivers. When Begelton did get a chance to play, he was productive, grabbing 25 throws for 488 yards and one score, but seven games in he suffered a broken arm which ended his season. In danger of being a forgotten man coming back in 2019, Reggie rededicated himself to overcoming adversity.

To say he succeeded would be a colossal understatement. Begelton went on to have one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. He caught 102 passes for 1,444 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was named the team's Most Outstanding Player and a CFL All Star. Finally, at least one NFL team began to notice him. That team was the Green Bay Packers.

With his contract set to expire, Reggie considered a return to Calgary in 2020, but the chance to prove himself in the big time was too good to pass up. In January of this year Begelton signed with the Pack. He finds himself in a familiar spot.....on a team loaded with receivers and considered a bit of a long shot to make the squad.

When I watched his highlight reel, I saw a guy catching passes all over the field....short crosses, sideline outs, as well as deep balls down the seam and on the boundary. I saw some acrobatic, full-stretch receptions and nice adjustments to the ball in the air. But what impressed me the most was the way tacklers were bouncing off of him after the catch. He runs a little heavy legged, and is obviously not a burner, but he shows some power with the ball in his hands. Now granted, I also saw some of the worst defensive back play ever on that reel. Poor angles, inability to cover and terrible technique. But still it's hard to deny Begelton's dominance.

To be sure, it's a long and rare jump from the CFL to the NFL. Begelton watched as three of his former Calgary teammates left to take their shot at NFL training camps last summer. Alex Singleton and Marken Michel signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and Jameer Thurman went to camp with the Chicago Bears. All three were cut by the end of camp.

But Begelton is approaching his opportunity with the Packers with his usual relentless determination. ESPN quotes coach Matt LaFleur as being "super impressed" with the 26 year old during the team's virtual off season program. "The one thing that really stands out is you can tell he is super invested", LaFleur said. "He's done a great job of picking up everything that is thrown at him. He does a great job. We've been quizzing these guys quite a bit, and he is repeatedly at the top. I've been just super impressed with his approach and just excited to see him and see what he's got to offer on the field."

Begelton will wear number 84. He may just be the surprise of camp. The only one who will not be surprised is Reggie himself.  He's been here before.

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (37)

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Bure9620's picture

July 05, 2020 at 06:31 pm

That would be a nice story but this is a massive jump from the CFL. Few have made it successfully. He is also 26, not a developmental player. I don't see Begelton making the roster. I think we carry 5 WRs, Adams, Lazard, Funchess, EQ and MVS. He would have to absolutely ball in camp to make this team and force Gutey's hand. This is possible but not likely.

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Stroh's picture

July 05, 2020 at 08:04 pm

I'd take Begelton over MVS all day, every day. MVS sucks and has none of the skills of an NFL WR. MVS is fast and nothing else. Begelton has proven route running, elusivenes and tackle breaking, both WR traits that MVS completely lacks.

Personally, I'll take EQ and Begelton over Funchess as well.

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Bure9620's picture

July 05, 2020 at 08:47 pm

Begelton has not played an NFL snap.........over Funchess??? Sorry

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 08:56 am

You are familiar with the concept of development? MVS either develops his route running or doesn’t but this idea that a 5th round developmental prospect is garbage and always will be is the trash in this can.

Begelton is really intriguing. Powerful, determined and great hands and runs good routes. Canadian fans seem to think he has a real chance to find a role. He does, as the writer suggests, appear versatile. Injury is a likely factor in a group like this. I’m excited that we have him in the mix. One thing that comes across is maturity and dedication to detail like route running. As others have shown, that can take a receiver a long way.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 06, 2020 at 05:09 pm

I'm just wondering how long this 'development' should go on. He turns 26 this year and has had 4 years of college and 2 years in the NFL, and to be honest, has shown very little, if any, development from year to year. And remember, he's had a HOF QB throwing to him the past two years.

I think Begelton has way more potential upside than MVS. He's had to prove himself at every level. And he has. He has a much more overall skill set than MVS. I'll be somewhat surprised if MVS makes the 53 this year. I think 2 years is more than enough for a 5th round draft pick to prove he belongs, particularly given the chances he's had.

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:17 pm

MVS was known to need polish when he arrived. A 6 foot 4 receiver with his speed makes it to the 5th round only because he isn’t NFL ready. He needs to become more than just a speedster. Learning routes and finesse takes 3 or 4 season’s regularly. That said, when healthy, he has given us something as an extra dimension. One hopes he can be more. One would hope we start to see that this year.

I like Bagelton, though I don’t know if his athleticism can carry him. If it does, he could be a really nice find. He isn’t an MVS type though. The only other real speed is Taylor, about whom I know nothing else whatsoever. Could he be a dark horse?

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:48 pm

I hope you're right. I just don't know if I can agree about taking up a roster spot for 3 or 4 years for a 5th round draft pick, who quite frankly never showed much in college or the NFL so far. Jeff Janis was 6'3" and fast. Last time I heard, he was selling tires somewhere. And he was a contributor on ST's, which MVS is not. We'll see. I hope you're right and I'm wrong.

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cheesehead1's picture

July 05, 2020 at 06:33 pm

Never say never, we’ll hopefully know soon enough. I’m pulling for him.

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mnbadger's picture

July 05, 2020 at 07:51 pm

Hopefully the NFL will add even more players to the roster and game day lineup due to short training camp. Begelton could be one of many great stories from around the league if this were to happen. Lord knows we need as many good stories as we can get. GPG

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 08:59 am

If there is a season, the likelihood of infection and quarantine would appear to make the chances of revolving rosters pretty high. Seems to me that something needs to be done to increase the pool of system educated players and stop endless poaching from practice squads to make up numbers.

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sbransbottom's picture

July 07, 2020 at 01:05 pm

The fact that there will be less preseason games, if any at all, will mean less poaching from practice squads. Teams aren't going to be able to get tape on the practice squad players from other teams so I doubt they take chances and instead decide to stick with the players they have. Rather the devil you know than the devil you don't, ya know?

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dobber's picture

July 06, 2020 at 11:04 am

More players means leniency in the cap. How that happens is hard to say.

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Demon's picture

July 05, 2020 at 08:09 pm

Yawn, next please

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wildbill's picture

July 05, 2020 at 10:00 pm

A nice story but if he makes our team it will show how really weak our WR corps is. He had one excellent year in a JV league. He is slow , seems to have nice hands and some decent moves. There are plenty of those guys sitting on NFL teams practice squads

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:18 pm

Or he is better than billed. Slow? more like average. Fairly powerfully built for a receiver. I can think of a few who made that work very well. Fill up the other half of your glass and let’s see whether he is just a guy or brings something to the table. I think he does, if his athleticism is adequate. Certainly a better camp prospect than you seem to think in my opinion.

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wildbill's picture

July 06, 2020 at 10:44 am

Guys who have “adequate” athleticism are very seldom an upgrade at a skill position. You can always find a rare exception but don’t hang your hat on upgrading your team on rare exceptions.

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wildbill's picture

July 06, 2020 at 10:44 am

Guys who have “adequate” athleticism are very seldom an upgrade at a skill position. You can always find a rare exception but don’t hang your hat on upgrading your team on rare exceptions.

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:20 pm

I wasn’t, I was saying his skills are impressive, but the unknown is whether he has the athleticism to unlock them in the NFL. If he can, he could be a genuine find as opposed to how you characterize him.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 06, 2020 at 02:20 am

Sorry if I didn't immediately notice it, but I see that I am no longer kicked to the top of the article after submitting a comment. Thank you! It is much appreciated!

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gkarl's picture

July 06, 2020 at 10:05 am

TGR

Al's leg must have gotten sore.

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:21 pm

Or all those stats just made TGR too weighty?

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

July 06, 2020 at 07:39 am

I'll keep saying this: Begelton's tape reminds me of Antonio Freeman. I'm hoping he either makes the 53 or (more likely) the PS. With one year studying/working with Davante Adams, Begelton could turn into an excellent possession receiver who does well in the slot. 4.5 speed is adequate when you have top-notch head/hands/moves.

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Bure9620's picture

July 06, 2020 at 08:57 am

Not sure I would want a 26 year old on the PS. The practice squad is for players they see some potential from down the line that need to be developed. I would not want a 26 old player on the PS unless the PS was expanded quite a bit. At 26, he really needs to be a complete product now. The NFL is designed to continually get younger and younger by year. The Begelton hype train has been an interesting thing to see from Packer fans......

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Handsback's picture

July 06, 2020 at 07:49 am

Begelton dominated the CFL, similarly if a player dominates D-III he's given a shot in the NFL as well. He's earned the chance and frankly I think the Packers are lucky in this respect....he's made his body ready for the NFL. Sometimes its a natural process, but sometimes its just hard work. In his case probably both, but he will make some noise if there is a season.

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Coldworld's picture

July 06, 2020 at 06:29 pm

Anquan Boldin ran a 4.7 second 40 at 216 pounds. That’s a stretch, but it can be done, especially with a YAC game type.

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PeteK's picture

July 06, 2020 at 02:11 pm

On a roster filled with tall oaks, Begelton and Ervin are slippery underneath receivers that we need. However, my money is on Ervin because he has the experience and was used successfully at the end of last season. I love his diversity as a runner or receiver.

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BAMABADGER's picture

July 06, 2020 at 08:21 am

Begelton is a long shot. The only receiver to successfully transfer his skill from the CFL to the NFL is Joe Horn, who played one year with the Memphis Mad Dog. The team folded after that one season.

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greengold's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:54 am

You might want to check that. Joe Horn had a very productive 12 year career in the NFL with the Chiefs and the Saints.

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BAMABADGER's picture

July 10, 2020 at 07:53 pm

"The only receiver to successfully transfer his skill from the CFL to the NFL is Joe Horn."
Get you eyes checked. Go Pack Go!

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greengold's picture

July 06, 2020 at 09:12 am

Ken, I couldn't agree more with what you've written here. Reggie Begelton is going to surprise one hell of a lot of Packer fans. This is not just a CFL player transitioning to the NFL, he's a CFL All-Star. His highlight reel speaks volumes, as you had mentioned. Anyone not on board with him probably have not seen what Begelton brings to GB. He literally owns the middle of the field. He's HIGH POSSESSION. Catches just about everything thrown his way, and once he does, this dude gets RAC.

He's a powerful, pure slot WR who is capable of working outside as well. Begelton is a perfect fit for the "QB's Best Friend," category of WR. I firmly believe he will earn the #3 WR job behind Adams & Lazard. He's that reliable. Rodgers is going to love this guy. Add to it, he's not just a rookie straight out of college. He's got the maturity and experience to bring into camp in his battle for a position. Highly talented player.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 06, 2020 at 10:02 am

He will soon find that DBs in the NFL are superior to players he has faced in the past. But it’s a nice story and I wish him well.

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greengold's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:33 am

That could be said of any newly drafted player, including those taken in the 1st Round...

Did you have a point?

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dobber's picture

July 06, 2020 at 11:14 am

"...on a team loaded with receivers and considered a bit of a long shot to make the squad."

Does "loaded with receivers" mean "with lots of WR on the roster?" We can argue about whether or not CFL production means much, but right now Begelton is the only player on the roster not named Funchess or Adams who has done anything of serious note post-college. All about getting the best WR on the roster, and at 26, he's still in his prime with several years to go.

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greengold's picture

July 07, 2020 at 09:49 am

I'll add, after watching a lot from his highlights that he exudes toughness. This is a guy who will get you a 1st down, and more. Very tough making the catch over the middle. His maturity and experience will really help him to contribute immediately.

I like the Funchess signing, and I am not one to discount MVS having a resurgence to his career in year 3. Alan Lazard is a favorite of mine and many others for the #2 WR spot, but I can see Reggie Begelton winning the #2 or 3 WR position outright. We'll see. He's got the talent.

All I know is Aaron Rodgers is going to be really happy to have someone like Begelton, with his precise route running, his ability to separate, sure hands and toughness to throw to.

In watching his highlights, I came away thinking: 1. he's got the stature of Davante Adams 2. he plays like a combination of both Jordy and Cobb. Very sure. Completely reliable.

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Nate-1980's picture

July 10, 2020 at 01:25 pm

With ya dobber , I chuckled when I heard “ loaded with receivers” ha..:)

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Packers0808's picture

July 06, 2020 at 05:02 pm

Been saying all year he maybe the surprise of the camp!

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RaymonMontgomery's picture

July 09, 2020 at 07:00 pm

I'm waiting for this

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