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NFL Draft

Can D’Wayne Eskridge Immediately Fill Seahawks’ WR3 Void?

  • The Draft Network
  • May 15, 2021
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The Seattle Seahawks are facing one of their biggest challenges heading into the 2021 season; they, more specifically, Seattle’s brass, need to keep quarterback Russell Wilson happy. After Wilson vocalized his frustrations with the historically weak offensive line, rumors of his potential departure swirled. 

Wilson isn’t going anywhere—for now—but it was imperative for the Seahawks to address some of his concerns, and there were needs beyond added (and reliable) protection. Seattle needs more depth across its entire offense, including dependable pass-catchers beyond veteran Tyler Lockett and the sensational talent of D.K. Metcalf. There was just one glaring problem for the Seahawks entering the offseason and 2021 NFL Draft cycle: Seattle had three selections during draft weekend, and its first was in the second round.

The team’s brass, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, pride themselves on finding those diamonds in the rough. With the Nos. 56, 137, and 208 picks, they had to look for players who can move into and quickly develop their pro-style game to fill holes along the offense and defense.

The Seahawks added talent to their secondary with the fourth-round selection of cornerback Tre Brown and selected offensive tackle Stone Forsythe in the sixth round. Seattle’s first pick in the 2021 draft helped fill the receiving needs. D'Wayne Eskridge, out of Western Michigan, has a good chance at becoming Seattle’s WR3 if all goes well during the continued offseason.

“He’s very explosive,” Lockett said Thursday, via the Seattle Times. “I think when you watch him play, that’s the very thing that stands out. He’s really good at being able to not only get open, but he’s able to do a lot of great things even after the catch. I think he fits in perfectly with our system. … Based off where we’re going as an offense, I think this is going to be a truly special place for him.”

Lockett touched on everything the Seahawks are looking for in their WR3, a role that hasn’t been fully utilized in Seattle for multiple seasons, and Eskridge has already shown he can fit well into Seattle’s system. Eskridge is a former defensive back turned receiver; his vision, after playing both sides of the ball, allowed him to show high-end production following the positional change. This was a change Eskridge embraced, and one that’s served him well now that he’s in a position to become an impact player early in his budding NFL career.

“It’s something I have to do for this team and something I gotta do for myself,” Eskridge said in 2019, via the Battle Creek Enquirer, “because it can help me in the long run, too.”

The Draft Network scouted Eskridge as a developmental WR3 who can also bring play-making abilities to special teams: 

“Eskridge doesn’t leave a stone unturned on his route tree. He possesses plenty of branches on it, but his most frequent are quick slants off of run-pass options. The main option on “safety read” concepts, he thrived off of defenses that used roll-down insert safeties as extra run defenders. Whether against press or allowed cushion, Eskridge was able to take advantage of the opportunities when the ball came in his direction. A multilevel threat, he also has the capabilities of running routes in the intermediate and deep areas of the field. He possesses the unique trait of being able to run full speed, but then immediately being able to shut down his forward momentum by sinking his hips prior to changing directions or running back down route stems.”

The Seahawks’ future beyond 2021 is precarious, especially if they aren’t able to meet the needs of Wilson; but if we’re strictly looking at what Eskridge can bring, and how he can fit into the team for the upcoming season, it seems like Seattle found another diamond despite not having a first-round draft pick.

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