Quez Watkins has Etched a Role in Eagles' Future – Sports Illustrated

BREAKING NEWS: The Eagles are winning in their development of a young wide receiver.
Quez Watkins, who will turn 24 on June 9, has proved worthy of a starting role, and you can look no farther than the strides the second-year receiver made with Philadelphia this past season.
His developmental leap was not only noticeable, but it left you – and, more importantly, head coach Nick Sirianni – wanting to see more. After 647 receiving yards (fourth-most by an Eagles wideout since 2018), the young receiver has a lot more to prove and has earned the time to do so.
Pro Football Focus's statistics best illustrate Watkins’ ascension from a rarely-used rookie to a breakout second season:
Passer rating of 90 when targeted in 2021
Credited with one drop on 61 targets (2.3% drop rate)
70.5% of Watkins’ targets were caught
Established himself as productive slot wide receiver with 71% of his routes coming from Y receiver spot
Highest contested catch percentage of Eagles starting wide receivers (57.1%)
Longest reception of Eagles 2021 season with 91 yard catch
The most encouraging part of the young receiver’s progression is how comfortable his quarterback can feel when targeting him. 
The lack of drops, high passer rating, and eight forced missed tackles after the catch has his trajectory pointing up.
One of the Eagles' offseason priorities, though, should be finding a veteran receiver to help shepherd a young group.
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In that search, however, the Eagles cannot lose sight of the pleasant surprise their Day 3 pick from 2020 has become. Heading into Year 3, he looks the real deal, and that the Eagles struck gold in the sixth round.
After proving to be a productive player in the slot, with the ability to rotate in different receiver spots, slot production should not be ignored. 
The Eagles should focus on a boundary receiver to play in every receiver spot, similar to Watkins and DeVonta Smith, but Watkins's future should be the starting slot.
After his thorough work developing and getting noticeable production from the wide receiver position throughout his coaching career, Sirianni was an attractive option for a head coach. Watkins has become the next name added to Sirianni’s list. 
The Eagles head coach already labeled him his No.2 wide receiver during the team's end-of-season press conference.
"I look at Quez Watkins, as he's our No. 2 wide receiver," said the coach, three days after losing to Tampa Bay in the opening round of the playoffs. 
"He has big-time speed, and he has a knack to make plays. Of course, you always want to get – the style of offense that we played this year didn't allow for Quez to get as many touches as he probably deserves, but we did everything we could do to win each individual game.

"So, Quez has big-play ability in him. I think out of the No. 2 wide-outs I've been around in the NFL, he can be one of the best No. 2’s that I've been around in the NFL because of his skill set and because of his ability to make plays.
The WR's best days are to come, and Philadelphia has every right to trust Watkins’ process despite the small sample size he has so far given the organization.
Conor Myles covers the Philadelphia Eagles for SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-hosts the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast on Bleav Podcast Network. Reach Conor at ConorMylesSI@gmail.com or Twitter: @ConorMylesSI
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.
Conor Myles covers the Philadelphia Eagles for Sports Illustrated’s Eagle Maven and is the co-host of Eagles Unfiltered podcast. You can listen to Eagles Unfiltered on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, or Audacy. You can reach Conor at ConorMylesSI@gmail.com or on Twitter: @ConorMylesSI


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