We’re officially half way through our series that aims to bring you closer to the Eagles’ 2020 Draft Class. If you’ve missed any of the prior articles, fear not!
Today’s piece takes a look at the final wide receiver selected by Howie Roseman – SMU’s Quez Watkins.
Watkins dominated the competition at SMU, blazing through his final season with 1,178 yards and six touchdowns as a wideout that can run a 4.35 40-yard dash. He had a notable amount of off-field issues, specifically with academics, which forced him off the playing field on a few occasions. It was a bit of a surprise when Watkins declared for the draft, considering how raw he was after his season a redshirt Junior, but it proved to be the right one.
Here are five things you need to know.
Idolizing an Eagle
When asked about some of the older wideouts in the locker room he’d soon be walking into, there was one man that rolled off the tongue of Watkins – DeSean Jackson.
Oh, man. DeSean has really been one of my role models as a receiver as speed guy, kind of a similar body style. Really just ready to start learning and getting a lot of stuff, getting a lot of knowledge from him.
If you’ve read every article in this series so far, you’ll notice a pattern here. Every Eagles rookie speaks so highly of either team-greats when asked about inspirations, or leaders in the current locker room. I genuinely can’t remember a class where this was the case for every pick. The Eagles have clearly sought out players that are all-in on the culture that the City has to offer, its rich history, and the work ethic associated with all of the above.
Working out with a familiar face…
Talking of the Eagles seeking out very specific players, how’s this for a coincidence?
I mentioned yesterday that it could well be a possibility that Wentz and his receivers rotate out in favor of rookie QB Jalen Hurts and the ‘B receivers’ either late in games, for specific packages, or maybe even just a change of pace.
Quez Watkins actually worked out with his future teammate before the NFL Draft, already building a firm bond with the former Oklahoma Sooner.
After I got drafted, he texted me and he was like, ‘Let’s get to work.’ It’s really just what we have been about before the Combine, stuff like that. Really been just trying to get to work.
It’s really good that I’m with him, because we kind of started bonding a lot, started getting close as the Combine and such came, and then really we just got a connection. So, we’re already going to have the connection and timing down.
He’s a worker. He’s a competitor. He’s not going to stop until he proves to everybody that he’s the best. He’s determined. He’s always determined. I’ve never seen a guy that put up 300, 400 yards a game and then come back and work out after the game, after putting up 56 points.
Honestly, he’s just really different. He’s somebody that’s going to work to get to that starting spot, work to get better. He’s not going to settle for nothing.
Well, would you look at that?
Watkins spoke glowingly of Hurts, his mentality, and even offered an insight into his work ethic. The Eagles could well be on the cusp of something special here (or totally boring and all the speculation could count for nothing) so if you haven’t already, check out my piece detailing the ‘Hurts masterplan’ here:
An explosion waiting to happen
Watkins may be young and slightly raw, but he’s a back-to-back All-Conference USA First-team honoree. He led the conference in yards per game (107) last year, ending 2019 with 1,178 receiving yards. In doing so, he became the eighth receiver in program history to hit the 1k mark in a single season.
He also led the team with 19 plays of 20+ yards, which as we know from the drafting of Reagor and Hightower, has been a key area of focus. Carson Wentz ranked ninth on such plays last year despite having no deep threats whatsoever. This much speed is truly terrifying.
Watkins’ production shouldn’t be overlooked. To snag a receiver of that caliber, that late, is a testament to just how deep this class was. He could well develop into a steal.
A focal point of growth
Talking of which, speedsters often carry a niche skill set and can very easily become pigeon-holed into fly routes and corners/posts etc. Watkins was very quick to mention an area of his game he wants to develop.
I just feel like I need to be able to get stronger so I can be able to bully guys and move them and displace them whenever I want to.
Sounds like Aaron Moorhead has a receiver that’s ready to learn and ready to work. Keep an eye on Watkins during the preseason to see if he’s able to absorb contact through the stem and if his ‘elusive’ style takes a more physical turn.
Don’t let the status fool you…
Watkins may have been selected in round 6, but that only expands the chip on his shoulder. Again, the reason he slipped so far may well have just been the fact that this draft class was historically loaded at the WR position.
A lot people may not know me now, but really by the end of the season people are going to know me. I’m really not somebody that’s going to try to stay off to the side. I’m going to show up to the competition and show everybody what I’m about. Show them I’m ready to play and show them why I’m an Eagle.
I’m ready to run through a wall.
Also his first name is actually Terrance. The more you know.
Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports