Rumored Eagles Trade Candidate Declares Himself ‘Elite’

Quez Watkins

Getty The Philadelphia Eagles face a decision on Quez Watkins' (right) future.

Olamide Zaccheaus hadn’t even pen to paper on his one-year deal when the first shots came barreling across the bow. The move rubbed Quez Watkins the wrong way, seeing Zaccheaus as a challenger for his job, and the starting slot receiver boldly expressed his thoughts on social media.

Watkins, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, arrived at training camp with a certified chip on his shoulder. The one-time rumored trade candidate wants his name in the same conversation as star teammates A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

“I’m an elite receiver,” Watkins told reporters on August 1. “I feel like this year, and the years to come, I’m going to put that on display.”

Watkins was the shining star at practice on July 30 when he masterfully weaved his way through traffic in the secondary. He out-leaped and out-grappled Zech McPhearson for one contested catch before dropping two toes down in bounds on the sideline. Watkins made four catches on seven targets from Jalen Hurts during Sunday’s session.

“Quez has done a great job. He had a terrific catch the other day in the first team period,” new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “He’s highly, highly motivated. He’s obviously very, very talented, and that group in general, as with a lot of groups, this being the third year of the offense, there’s a level of confidence that comes with knowing exactly what to do, knowing the adjustments that need to happen before they even happen. Quez has been no different.”

Competition in the Slot: Watkins vs. Zaccheaus

Watkins was dealing with a shoulder sprain for half the year in 2022 and it “deteriorated his confidence.” The nagging injury was a huge mental hurdle for the fourth-year receiver, one that may have contributed to his critical drop in Super Bowl LVII. All that is in the rear-view mirror, though.

“He’s hungry, and he’s used everything as fuel,” Hurts said earlier this offseason. “I’m glad he’s taken that approach and I’m excited to see the show he puts on this year.”

The former sixth-round pick now finds himself in a position battle for the slot job with Zaccheaus. He’s had the upper hand through four practices so far at camp along with effusive support from Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. Everyone has rallied around Watkins as he looks to keep his starting job and make “y’all eat every f****** word!”

“It’s competition. This is the big leagues. You gotta play ball,” Watkins said. “It’s not about what you did last year, the year before. It’s what you’re doing now.”

Nick Sirianni Offers Moral Support

Head coach Nick Sirianni was quick to drop Watkins’ name when asked to pick an individual player who stood out at OTAs. Sirianni credited the slot receiver’s attitude, especially his ability to block out the noise from people outside the building.

“I have no problem singling one guy out that I think has just done a phenomenal job this off-season is Quez Watkins,” Sirianni told reporters on June 8. “I love his attitude, and I’ve said this to him, and I have no problem saying it here, some people around here, and it’s not in this building, we have a ton of confidence in Quez Watkins, but I kind of sense from him — he’s never said this, but oh, some people think I stink? Wait. Wait. That’s how he’s attacked every day. That’s how he’s attacked practices, and I think that he looks really good.”

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frank dolo
frank dolo
1 month ago

Practice players look good at times in regular season but ELITE players shine in play-off and Super Bowl. May the best Receiver win.