Things have changed since the 2021 NFL season. Jalen Hurts was entering his first season as the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback, Alex Singleton led the team in tackles. A.J. Brown wasn't even on the roster. The offense began the year struggling mightily as the team hadn't yet discovered how nasty they could be in the running game. Oh, and then there's the depth chart.
Quez Watkins was the second wide receiver on the depth chart. He was being asked to play on the outside, and to his credit, he showed some flashes.
It was common for Number 16 to make contested catches and haul in balls on the sideline with little room to spare. That led some to believe that he could be a valuable piece on a competitive team.
Then it happened...
The fall of Quez Watkins was disappointing and unfortunately came at a time when the Eagles needed more from 'Fast Batman'.
We remember it like it was yesterday. A.J. Brown's arrival in Philly last season was reminiscent of Thor's arrival in Wakanda for the anticlimactic fight in Avengers: Infinity War. Opposing teams were in for night terrors as Jalen Hurts was aligned with his best friend, but with DeVonta Smith also being on the roster, Watkins' role was reduced.
Think of him as The Hulk, damaged by an earlier tail-kicking at the hands of Thanos. Banner's anxiety provided a mental block that wouldn't allow our green hero to join the fray leaving fans disappointed.
What does this have to do with the Eagles you ask? It's simple. Birds fans thought Watkins would flourish in his new role as a complement to DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and Dallas Goedert positioned to be featured as the stars of Philly's passing attack. The belief was Quez's breakaway speed would aid in the assault, help him garner more attention from defenses, and occasionally make big plays of his own.
That hasn't happened. Instead, he has come up small when looked upon to make big plays in big spots. His breakaway speed hasn't helped him. He seems to be declining despite there being no need for him to be featured. His decline has led to confusion.
The Southern Miss alum has shared his feelings on X back, and he has gone so far as to put the NFL world on notice, calling himself 'elite'. We have seen Jalen Hurts support him. His head coach Nick Sirianni has endorsed him publicly (and, then Quez responded by dropping an easy pass at practice).
Fast forward to the current season: five games in, and Watkins has collected a whopping 21 yards on four receptions. Sure, he missed all but two games due to injury, but other issues are at play.
Seeing him run out of bounds rather than fight for two yards on third down isn't what one would classify as an elite talent making fans who are in disbelief 'eat their words'.
The trade deadline is only a few weeks away and Eagles executive vice president/general manager Howie Roseman isn't one to be shy about making a big splash or unexpected move.
Olamide Zaccheaus has been a breath of fresh air, so the cupboard at wide receiver isn't bare. If Watkins can't make an impact in the coming weeks, the Eagles should see if they can find some reasonable trade compensation and maybe another weapon to contribute more consistently.