DeVonta Smith, Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins are set to start for the Philadelphia Eagles once they line up in "11 personnel" in Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons. Jalen Hurts is ready to roll with this group, even if the Eagles haven't seen the progress between the starting quarterback and receivers in a live game yet.
Hurts likes what he sees out of the three receivers, two of whom were in his draft class and the other was his teammate at the University of Alabama.
"All three -- (they're) big-time playmakers," Hurts said after the Eagles joint practice with the Jets Tuesday. "Fast, can catch the ball well, and they're taking steps every day. They're growing, and learning, like myself. It's good to see. I'm happy to be a part of it with them. I'm excited for them all."
The Eagles starting wide receivers are fast and are expected to take the top off a defense and provide explosive plays. How head coach Nick Sirianni utilizes them is the unknown.
Smith is the reliable pass catcher and excellent route runner, a natural fit for the "X." Reagor can create mismatches in the slot, as he and Watkins appear to interchange between that role and the 'Z." What the Eagles receivers hope to create is an opportunity to open up the run game, a prevalent part of Sirianni's offense.
"The game in general speed helps you, so it's nice to have those three guys that can really run," Sirianni said 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."
Whether the Eagles need to add a veteran wide receiver is up for debate, especially given the lack of depth at the position. Hurts and Sirianni are pretty confident the starters will get the job done in 2021.
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