Videos by OutKick
The Philadelphia Eagles have a lot of questions all over the field. How will Jalen Hurts respond as a starting NFL quarterback? And will the Eagles take a PR hit by acquiring Deshaun Watson? One questions looks to be answered, though: Philadelphia snagged a diamond in the rough in wide receiver Quez Watkins.
Watkins was a sixth-round pick out of Southern Mississippi in the 2020 NFL Draft. He sat out the beginning of last season with injury, and then returned to spotty playing time as a rookie. Now entering his second season in the league and looking to make a big splash, Watkins is establishing himself as a training camp bright spot.
At an open practice in front of fans on Sunday evening, Watkins made three spectacular catches. First, he high-pointed a deep ball over Craig James in the end zone. Next, he had a full-extension, diving catch near the goal line during red zone work. And finally, he high-pointed a second ball over Anthony Harris in what was the catch of the entire camp so far, per reports.
Vertical deep ball catches are fun to watch, but what really stands out about Watkins is his improved route-running.
“Being able to control my speed, being able to make 75 [percent speed] look like 100,” Watkins said when asked about the changes he’s made.
The knock on Watkins last summer was that he ran every route full speed, so he was never able to really play cat-and-mouse games with the defensive backs that are needed for separation in the NFL. Everyone in the league is athletically gifted, so winning the one-on-one battle often means disguising the route and using speed as a weapon.
It’s hard to imagine the Eagles put up a very successful season this year (FanDuel Sportsbook has their win total sitting at a heavily juiced 6.5 and their odds to win the division at a paltry +470, worst in the NFC East). But a little-known receiver like Watkins could make for a nice late-round fantasy sleeper, or better yet, a low-owned daily fantasy addition. Based on his play in camp, don’t be surprised to see Watkins hauling in a few valuable fantasy touchdowns this season. After all, you can’t own only star players in fantasy football; the games are won and lost in the lower ranks with players who match up well against specific defenses.