Speedy Eagles Former Starting Receiver Bolts for Steelers

After four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver Quez Watkins is joining the Pittsburgh Steelers, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The Eagles wide receiver group will look a bit different in 2024.

NFL Free Agency: Former Eagles WR Quez Watkins to sign with Steelers

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith will have a new supporting cast next season. Not only is Watkins departing, but the Eagles signed a pair of veteran receivers in DeVante Parker and Parris Campbell. Philly could also select additional wideouts to compete for a roster spot in the upcoming NFL draft.

Watkins’ best season came in 2021 when the receiver posted 43 receptions for 647 yards and a touchdown in 17 games, including 12 starts. The veteran was sidelined for a portion of last season with injuries. Watkins notched 15 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in nine appearances in 2023.

The Eagles selected Watkins in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL draft with the No. 200 overall pick. Watkins became a key part of the offensive rotation making 25 starts over his four seasons in Philly.

Former Eagles Receiver Quez Watkins Ran a 4.35-Second 40 Yard Dash Time in 2020

The playmaker posted a blazing fast 4.35-second 40-yard dash time at the 2020 NFL combine. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Watkins to J’Mon Moore heading into the draft.

“Early-entry prospect with adequate size and speed but needs to prove he can rise to the occasion against NFL competition,” Zierlein detailed in his pre-draft profile of the receiver. “Watkins’ confidence has been affected by level of competition and his catch focus appears to change when he works into traffic.

“Hip tightness limits route effectiveness, but he runs well enough to work vertically and across the field with modest separation and above-average jump-ball talent. His leap in production is a good sign, but if he doesn’t do a better job of getting away from press, he will have a hard time making it. The potential outweighs the concerns and he should be a Day 3 selection with a shot at becoming a WR4/5.”

Steelers Rumors: Russell Wilson Is in ‘Pole Position’ to Be the Starting Quarterback

Watkins joins a revamped Steelers offense that features a new quarterback group headlined by Russell Wilson. Pittsburgh also traded for Justin Fields, but the team has emphasized Wilson is the projected starter.

Watkins will be competing for a roster spot with a talented group of receivers. The Steelers wideout group is headlined by George Pickens, Van Jefferson and Calvin Austin.

Watkins joins additional receivers including Dez Fitzpatrick, Denzel Mims and Marquez Callaway who are all fighting for snaps. As for who will be throwing them the ball, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin noted that Wilson is in “pole position” as QB1.

“We’re not resistant to competition, but as I’ve mentioned several times of late, I just think it’s appropriate to establish positioning as we get into this thing,” Tomlin told reporters on March 25, 2024. “The term that I’ve used is Russell has pole position. And why do I use that term? Because during this time where we’re not formally working, man, I just think it’s beneficial.”

For the Eagles, the front office still has some cap room to work with in order to potentially make additional moves. Spotrac projects Philadelphia has $33.5 million in remaining cap space heading into next season.

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