Doug Pederson Shares Cryptic Update on Eagles’ Rookie WR Battle

Quez Watkins

Getty Southern Miss WR Quez Watkins went to the Eagles in the 6th Round and he expects to compete in training camp.

Jalen Reagor has been the human-highlight film of training camp over two weeks. There is nothing he can’t do.

The Eagles’ top draft pick has been running with the first-team offense and pushing J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for the starting X receiver spot. Honestly, the winner of that competition doesn’t really matter since both players are going to see significant snaps in 2020. Reagor’s combination of speed, route-running, and raw athleticism has drawn comparisons to Julio Jones. Meanwhile, all Arcega-Whiteside has been doing these days is “catching touchdowns.”

There is another receiver battle raging at Eagles’ training camp, though. It pits fifth-round pick John Hightower versus sixth-rounder Quez Watkins, two guys who have jumped off the tape this summer. Whether it’s Watkins putting on the after-burners and beating Rasul Douglas for a one-handed grab, or Hightower crossing up shutdown corner Darius Slay on a comeback route, the two rookies have flashed in padded practices. Both men have caught the attention of their head coach.

“I like where both of them are,” Doug Pederson told reporters. “They’re making progress each and every day, and it’s an interesting battle as we come down to this last week of camp. Obviously that’s been kind of a battle spot for us at that receiver position, those two guys kind of competing as receivers.”

So, which one is winning the battle? More aptly, will either Watkins or Hightower be active in Week 1?

‘It’s just the nature of where we are,” Pederson said. “If one or both, or none, but I guess if one or both are up on say game day, then yeah, I’m going to trust them. We have to trust them, right, they’re part of our 53 [man roster]. Maybe they’re part of our active unit on game day, and we’ll see.”

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Hightower Makes Amazing 20-Yard TD Grab

On Thursday, it was Hightower staking the biggest claim to that roster spot. The rookie from Boise State hauled in an amazing 20-yard catch for a touchdown after winning a jump ball over cornerback Craig James. The highlight-reel play came two days after Hightower beat Avonte Maddox for a beautiful 40-yard reception down the field.

Carson Wentz has talked at length about the explosiveness and play-making ability that all his new weapons — plus one old one in DeSean Jackson — bring to the table. Pardon the Eagles quarterback for salivating a bit at the mouth. He’s never had receivers like this before.

“Seeing the explosiveness that they bring to the table and how they can help us — obviously it’s tougher on them this year because of the pandemic and limited time on the field — but I think they’ve all handled it really well,” Wentz said of Reagor, Watkins and Hightower. “I think they all truly want to learn and grow. They want to be really good professionals in the locker room and on the field. So I’m excited to see how they contribute this year and going forward. You can see the explosiveness and the speed and the play-making ability that they all bring.”

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