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Steelers to Sign Former Eagles WR Quez Watkins

The Pittsburgh Steelers are signing former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins.



Pittsburgh Steelers Quez Watkins
From Week 10 of the NFL Season featuring the Washington Commanders at the Philadelphia Eagles from Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 14, 2022. (All-Pro Reels / Joe Glorioso)

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers are signing former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins. This is the Steelers’ second wide receiver free agent signing, with Watkins joining Van Jefferson as the second receiver added after they traded Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers.

There is one trait that Watkins has in spades, and that is elite speed and explosiveness. Coming out of Southern Mississippi, Watkins ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and had a 36 1/2-inch vertical at the NFL Combine, measuring in at 6-foot, 185 pounds. Over his tenure in Philadelphia, Watkins developed as a big play threat.

This past season, he played in nine games and caught 15 catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. Watkins had his best season in 2021, racking up 647 yards and a touchdown on 43 receptions. He followed that up the next season with 33 catches for 354 yards and a touchdown. He was limited in 2023 by a hamstring injury.

Watkins fits into the fold as a slot receiver more than anything. Over his career, that is where he has played the most snaps, though he is not explicitly locked into being a slot-only player. However, in Arthur Smith’s scheme, it seems likely that Watkins will be someone who stretches the field and will be on the receiving end of some of Russell Wilson’s moonballs down the field.

Watkins also brings some kick return ability, having returned 14 kicks in his career, though he only notched one in 2023. This likely signals another draft pick coming early at wide receiver. It is even possible that if someone like Josh Reynolds or Tyler Boyd were to go at the right price, the team would still end up signing them. Watkins is another depth piece, coming in as someone who can be a serious threat and offer some special teams versatility on top of that.