The Eagles added two more wide receivers on the final day of the 2020 NFL Draft, picking John Hightower out of Boise State at No. 168 and Quez Watkins from Southern Miss at No. 200. Both players spoke with Philadelphia media on Saturday evening about the speed of the wide receiver room in Philly and getting to learn from talented veterans.
Here’s what they had to say:
He wasn’t phased by the depth of the wide receiver class or falling to the fifth round.
“I’m not worried about rankings or anything, I’m just thankful for the opportunity.”
He just wants to get his foot in the door, prove what he can do, and from there he’s always been successful.
Hightower was running track before he started playing football, and that background help him. Not only did his track coach play a big part in his life, but on the football sides of things, the receiver said it helped with his quickness and being able to outrun defenders.
He was asked about the wide receiver room with the Eagles and Hightower said he sees a group of people he can learn from. He wouldn’t say who would win in a foot race among the very fast group, but admitted it’d be a great race.
“I feel like I can learn a lot at receiver. Different coaches bring out different things in receivers, so I’m just ready to learn from our receiver coach and just build on that, get better.”
On his production in college, Hightower said that his receiver coach at Boise State told them to take advantage of every opportunity they get, and that’s exactly what he did.
“Tried to score every time I would get the ball, run great routes, get open, try to get the ball, and score.”
He also wasn’t shy to admit that he can work and improve in all aspects of his game, not only strength, but route-running and catching the ball. Hightower said he’s always willing to get better, and he’s confident he will.
The wide receiver was asked about what practice will be like with so many fast receivers. He was excited and there will definitely be a lot of speed and a lot of playmakers. Watkins also noted that DeSean Jackson has been one of his role models as a speed guy and with a similar body style.
He did identify one area he’d like to improve, and that was to get stronger to be able to bully guys. Watkins said he can learn a lot about the game of football and just about life off the field from the veterans, and is looking forward to it all.
Watkins was asked if he’s ever been on a team where he wasn’t the fastest receiver, and he said plenty, and it wasn’t until recently that he was the fastest. He went on to explain that he worked on his technique, which helped him with his explosion. He also learned from track guys and learning how to control his speed from guys like Jackson and Marquise Goodwin will be helpful.
He was another player who wasn’t worried about a deep wide receiver draft class keeping them from being picked earlier. Watkins was very happy to be picked by the Eagles, so he isn’t too worried about what might have been in a different draft class. He also said it wasn’t a tough decision for him to declare early, and it was something that he was thinking about even before the 2019 season.
The receiver had worked out with Jalen Hurts before the draft, and the QB texted Watkins after he was picked. The two bonded closer to the Combine, and Watkins said have that connection and timing will only be a benefit.
Watkins also complimented Hurts, “He’s a worker, he’s a competitor”. He went on to say he’s never seen a guy that puts up 300-400 yards in a game and then still works out afterward, “He’s just different”.