Training Camp Thoughts Day 5: Quez Watkins Flashes

The Eagles expect their first-round pick DeVonta Smith to miss two to three weeks with a sprained MCL and Quez Watkins seized an opportunity to showcase his skills on Monday
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PHILADELPHIA - With DeVonta Smith expected to miss the next two to three weeks in training camp with a sprained MCL, the team's other receivers will be given an opportunity to showcase their skills.

On Monday, speedy second-year wideout Quez Watkins was able to flash and perhaps get himself into the conversation for playing time down the road for an offense desperate for playmakers on the outside.

Watkins, a sixth-round draft pick out of Southern Mississippi in 2020, showed off his abilities as both a manufactured-touch player by taking a bubble screen from Nick Mullins into the end zone during red-zone work, a play that woke up the fans in attendance.

Later, Watkins showed off his 4.35 speed by running past the defense for a big gain on a throw from Jalen Hurts during 7-on-7s.

Pre-practice, offensive coordinator Shane Steichen noted that the deep ball is one of the areas where Hurts has stood out early in camp.  

"The way he throws the deep ball, he hit DeVonta the other day on this field for a big deep ball and he hit [TE] Zach [Ertz] the other day down the sideline, too," Steichen said. "To be able to throw the deep ball and hit guys in stride, that's an 80-yard touchdown instead of a 60-yard gain. So, really impressed with how he throws the deep ball right now."

HURTS SO GOOD

Overall, Hurts probably had his sharpest day throwing the football and it started from the get-go with sharp throws on out patters to both Travis Fulgham and Ertz.

There were still some shaky throws and the consistency isn't where you would like but the second-year QB has stated that getting 1 percent better every day is the goal and to date, Hurts has been able to do that.

ZECH ATTACK

The presence of Steve Nelson has slowed down the need to get rookie fourth-round pick Zech McPhearson on the field early but the Texas Tech product continues to show up during second- and third-team reps and had an interception of Nick Mullens during the session.

EXCITED FOR THE PADS

The Eagles have rotated Andre Dillard and Jordan Mailata in the left tackle competition to date. Day 5 meant it was Dillard's turn but Mailata is excited that Tuesday will be his day and that just happens to be the first day in pads this summer.

Perhaps no position needs the pads for evaluation more than the offensive line and the physical 6-foot-8, 340-pound Mailata is champing at the bit after getting his jersey pulled and ripped by the edge rushers over the first five days.

"Can't wait to get the pads on," Mailata said to SI.Com's Eagle Maven. "Sick of the defense pulling our jerseys, trying to throw us out of the path like they're wrestlers. It's crazy. I feel like at the end of every session my shirt is ripped or something. Just all the jersey grabbing so I'm sick of that and over it. "

INJURY UPDATE

Veteran edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan was forced to leave practice and was spotted heading to the medical tent while shaking his right hand. From there the Kerrigan moved inside the NovaCare Complex and was unable to return to the practice.

Dillard had two fingers on his left hand taped and said there was a little bit of an issue but nothing he can't fight through.

LB Davion Taylor (quad) was limited after missing Saturday's practice but took some first-team reps early. Also, limited today was CB Shakiak Taylor (lower body).

Right guard Brandon Brooks continues to be listed as day-to-day with a hamstring and the veteran star spoke to the media and confirmed his absence is about caution more than anything else. Joining Brooks in the day-to-day club is tight end Jason Croom (knee).

Listed as week-to-week are Smith, defensive back Nate Meadors (hamstring), and starting left guard Isaac Seumalo (hamstring).

PRACTICE GAME BALL

Watkins gets the nod in the first practice Nick Sirianni is probably going to give to the offense.

John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.