Chemistry is hard to develop on Zoom or MS Teams.
To that end, Carson Wentz hosted a number of his young receivers in the Houston area recently to get a bit of a head start for when training camps open, presumably July 28 under the new collective bargaining agreement for the Eagles.
Among those in attendance were rookies Jalen Reagor, Philadelphia’s first-round pick in April’s draft, and Quez Watkins, a sixth-round speedster out of Southern Mississippi.
With the virtual offseason in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic preventing on-field work in Philadelphia the informal get together was the first opportunity for Watkins to see just how impressive Wentz is from a physical perspective.
“Truthfully, I didn’t know he was that big,” Watkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. “I thought he was maybe 6-foot-3, 6-2. But he was like 6-5 and I was like, man, he’s tall. I see how he can sling it now.”
The 22-year-old Watkins is spending about two weeks in South Texas and was originally planning to get together with fellow draft classmate Jalen Hurts, the second-round QB penciled in to be one of Wentz’s backups.
From there, things mushroomed with the QB1 getting a number of his young WRs in the mix to help with some of the chemistry issues set back by no OTAs or minicamp, which would have punctuated the offseason.
Along with Watkins and Reagor, Texas native Greg Ward and second-year player J.J. Arcega-Whiteside were involved.
“It’s crucial,” Watkins said of the work. “Especially being a sixth-round draft pick, it’s not every day that somebody that late in the draft can already get with the quarterback and build a relationship and build trust. For me, that’s crucial and that will give me a step ahead.”
Wentz is also helping his WRs with the playbook which will have some added tweaks due to the presence of new senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello. Scangarello is heavily influenced by Kyle Shanahan and play-action football.
The Eagles’ emphasis on speed in the draft with Reagor, Watkins, and fellow rookie John Hightower being all 4.4-or-below guys, coupled with veterans in the same club as DeSean Jackson and trade pickup Marquise Goodwin, means Wentz should get plenty of opportunities to “sling it” downfield.
Watkins himself clocked in at 4.35 in the 40-yard dash at the combine.
“With (Wentz), he’s really just giving me signals and really coaching me up and helping me learn the playbook as we go along,” Watkins said. “And just getting reps, learning the different routes and stuff like that.”
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John every Monday and Friday on SIRIUSXM’s Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes, and every Tuesday and Thursday with Eytan Shander on SBNation Radio. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen