Keep an Eye on Eagles’ Late-Round Receivers
It’s no surprise when a team’s top draft pick grabs the headlines, but as we draw closer to training camp, Eagles fans should definitely keep their eyes on the teams two late round wide receiver selections.
The Eagles selected wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the first-round, and he is fully expected to have a large role in the Eagles offense.
Then there are Philadelphia’s fifth and sixth round picks, both receivers. And while the hope is that a healthy DeSean Jackson will be the teams prime target for Carson Wentz this season, the competition is wide open and primed for a few surprises.
Could two of those surprises be rookies John Hightower and Quez Watkins?
Hightower, the teams fifth-round selection, is a tall wide receiver with speed, who is known for stretching the field.
"He really impressed me at the East-West Shrine Bowl, said 973espn.com Eagles insider Andrew DiCecco on The Sports Bash. He was winning those contested catch situations, getting open consistently, tracking the football well down-the-field."
In most years Hightower would have been a third-round pick, but in the 2019 deep draft class, he dropped into the fifth-round. He had a solid 4.43 40-time at the combine, and showed the ability to make catches in traffic while at Boise State.
He was a highly productive player in two seasons on the blue turf, catching 82 balls for 1447 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He is also a productive player in the return game, which could earn him a roster spot
There was sixth-rounder, Watkins, who has game-breaking speed and can be used in a variety of ways.
"You're talking about a guy who ran the second-fastest time at the combine," said DiCecco. He is more of a vertical threat, and doesn't really have a wide array of routes he can run."
Watkins was arguably the most dynamic offensive weapon in Conference USA in 2019, and many draft experts feel, like with Hightower, that if this years wide receiver crop wasn't so deep, he could have been a third or fourth round pick thanks to his 40-yard-dash time of 4.35.
While both guys posses similar skill-sets, its unlikely that both can crack the Eagles final roster.
The Eagles currently have Jackson, last years second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Marquise Goodwin, and Reagor all competing for spots.
So who has the edge?
"I think John Hightower fits better," DiCecco said. "One thing Watkins will have to work on is his release off press coverage - he needs to get a little bit strong. Hightower doe as well, and actually gained a little bit of size during the draft process."
Watkins speed is what adds intrigue. Expect him to be in direct competition with Ward, who is not known for his speed in the slot.