Three Standout Young Players at Eagles Training Camp
One of the things people love to follow during NFL training camp and preseason games is the progress of the younger players, typically the rookies and second-year players.
For the Eagles, they have plenty of players that fit that mold, trying to make a case for starting jobs or key roles this season.
Here are three young players, which for this purpose are either rookies or second-year players, who have stood out so far at Eagles camp and could make an impact in 2021.
The second-year wide receiver has really had a strong camp and looks like he could be the team's No. 3 receiver.
Watkins was a sixth-round pick in 2020, but has a ton of speed and can be used in a variety of ways. Watkins had a 79-yard score in the team's preseason opener against Pittsburgh, showing the ability to catch the ball, get up the field and show his speed in the open field.
Watkins has also been a standout during the team's joint practices against both the Patriots and Jets, showing the ability to beat his name and make tough catches.
Watkins was a big play receiver in college, averaging 18.6 yards per catch. He ran a blistering 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
The team could put out a wide receiving core that features Rookie DeVonta Smith, second-year receiver Jalen Reagor, and Watkins, which would be a ton of speed on the field at all times.
“They’re big-time playmakers," Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "Fast. Catch the ball well. Taking steps every day.”
"The game in general speed helps you, so it's nice to have those three guys that can really run," said Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Wednesday. "They help it in every aspect. They blow the top off the coverage in the pass game, and they can run their guys out of there in the run game, and they can not only run guys out of there, but if you have major speed, teams will play different defenses and keep a lighter box to help out in the run game as well."
"So, we're hoping that's the case here with these guys, that defenses look at us like that and we get lighter boxes because they are afraid of the deep ball and the big play."
When asked which player was primed for a big season this year, veteran Fletcher Cox didn't hesitate, saying, Watkins.
Veteran Fletcher Cox says the rookie Milton Williams has been very coachable so far during this year's training camp.
He had a solid outing in the Eagles two preseason games, has been getting rave reviews for his ability to draw holding penalties during practice and his motor has been non-stop.
Williams is a very interesting prospect, the third-round pick had an outstanding combine, running a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, with an amazing 38 ½” vertical and 34 bench press reps at his pro day workout.
He is a guy that could see reps at both defensive tackle and outside on the end.
The rookie running back might have the best hands in the running back room, at least according to Miles Sanders.
So far in two preseason games, Gainwell has hauled in a team-leading five balls for 39 yards and excelled in that role while at Memphis. In his lone collegiate season, Gainwell caught 51 passes for 610 yards and three scores.
The team could feature Sanders as the lead back with Gainwell jumping in on passing downs.
He also showed the ability to run hard, adding seven carries for 35 yards good for five yards per carry. The 5’8 and 201 pounds Gainwell gives the Eagles a valuable weapon on the offensive side of the ball.
With these three young players, Eagles fans will have something to keep an eye on this season. Watkins, Williams, and Gainwell are just three of the young standouts, which also include obvious names like DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Jalen Hurts, Landon Dickerson, Zech McPhearson, and K'Von Wallace.