Quez Watkins is a perfect WR3

Heading into the 2021 NFL season, no one expected that much from Quez Watkins.

An afterthought in Doug Pederson’s offense who managed just seven assists during his rookie season, fans loved Watkins’ potential, speed, size and YAC pedigree, but few expected becoming a difference maker for the Philadelphia Eagles in his second professional season.

Well, it turns out that a coaching change was exactly what the doctor ordered for Southern Miss pride, because he not only made the team, but became an unlikely starter during week 1 after a fantastic camp.

Should he keep his starting spot as 2022 approaches? Most definitely, but he shouldn’t be the number two wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles because Howie Roseman suggested during his media availability after the playoffs. No, in an ideal world/offense, Quez Watkins would be a high-flying WR3 capable of snatching bombs from 50 yards without being force-fed screen after screen after screen as an offensive focal point.

The Philadelphia Eagles need to put Quez Watkins in the best position to succeed in 2022.

Heading into the 2021 season, almost everyone expected Jalen Reagor to step forward as the Philadelphia Eagles moved him inside to become their newest slot receiver.

On paper, the move made sense; DeVonta Smith was largely expected to play the same core role that Reagor filled the previous season, and having a role of making plays with the ball in his hands was more important than running a road tree. net could theoretically have opened the second-year pro’s offense. potential.

But in practice? In practice, it was Quez Watkins, not Reagor, who led the team in snaps at 571, 336 more than their away tally.

Considering Nick Sirianni never quite pulled out a page from Kliff Kingsbury’s play to out four or even five wide receivers, the decision to migrate Watkins into the slot more and more often wasn’t a matter of rotational luck. and was rather more concerted. effort to involve his fastest receiver on vertical passing concepts deployed closer to the offensive line and on-screen concepts, which rarely produced big results but were part of the offense for weeks. Although the results weren’t always pretty, and Watkins finished the season with a yardage-per-game average of just 38.1, when Jalen Hurts connected on a big one, like his 91-yard catch on week 2 which ended as the longest reception. of the entire 2021 NFL season, it seriously changed the tenor of a game.

This is how Watkins should be used going forward; as a pitch stretcher that forces opposing teams to cover the entire pitch and keep a deep safety just in case there is a lack of cover up front.

Although rarely deployed out of the slot, it was the element DeSean Jackson brought on offense in his first run with the Eagles and was a big reason why opposing teams couldn’t stack. the box on LeSean McCoy and Donovan McNabb/Michael Vick. Torrey Smith filled the same role for the Eagles in 2017 – again, as an outside player – and played a bigger role in the attack’s identity than his status as the club’s fourth attacking option suggests. ‘team.

Give Watkins and DeVonta Smith for that matter a third receiver who can average 100 catches a season, whether it’s a top free agent like Allen Robinson, a trade target like Calvin Ridley, a draft target like Drake London of the ‘USC, or even a midfielder, a top guy like Sammy Watkins, and the rest of the Eagles wide receiver could excel as better fits in more defined roles.

Unless Watkins — Quez, not Sammy — is taking a huge leap forward from Year 2 to Year 3, it’s probably a good idea to give the team a second-choice option to make life a bit easier. of everyone else, especially since the Eagles are also likely looking to take a step forward on their way back to contention.

There is no doubt about it; Quez Watkins deserves a ton of credit for his efforts in 2021. He stepped up as a wide receiver, took on a much bigger role from the previous season and gave the Philadelphia Eagles hope that ‘they actually have more than one legitimate wide receiver under contract in the future. But to truly maximize the offense’s potential, give Jalen Hurts a fair assessment, and relieve DeVonta Smith, Howie Roseman needs to add another legitimate wide receiver and allow Smith to thrive as a WR3.

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