Some things are just meant to be.
D’Wayne Eskridge texted a friend prior to the draft saying that he’d prefer to land in Seattle. He referenced a successful group of pre-draft meetings with the Seahawks offensive coaches and an overall vibe that matched what he was looking for in his future NFL home.
“They made me feel more comfortable in terms of being taken care of when I come to Seattle,” Eskridge said via Zoom call. “I know I’ll be able to come there and just get better. I wouldn’t have to worry about too much of the nonsense. I felt that energy directly.”
Eskridge had a feeling good news was on its way as pick No. 56 approached with the Seahawks set to go on the clock for the first time in the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I instantly knew. It was some type of energy that came over me,” he said. “Then once I saw that Washington number call me, I stood up and was so joyful. Now it’s time to get to work.”
Eskridge, a supremely athletic 5-foot-9 wide receiver out of Western Michigan, had a monster 2020 season. He put up 33 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in just six games in a COVID-altered season. Eskridge credited his big numbers to an added dedication to watching film and an emphasis on taking care of his body. A successful week in Mobile, Ala. during January's Senior Bowl also helped boost his draft stock.
He joins DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett to form a potent trio atop Seattle’s depth chart at wide receiver with Freddie Swain figuring to chip in as well. Eskridge has sub 4.4 speed and said he’d bet on himself to win a footrace against Metcalf.
“I’m also a dog,” Eskridge said. “I feel like I’ll be able to fit in pretty good and take it to another level and do what I’m paid to do now.”
Eskridge’s career with the Broncos was a bit unorthodox. He was a two-way player for a few seasons before settling at receiver in 2020. His time playing cornerback helped him learn the nuances of being a receiver in terms of how to make DBs uncomfortable.
The adjectives he used to describe his game were “aggressive, explosive and dynamic,” adding, “I just bring a whole ‘nother juice.”
That skill set should complement Lockett and Metcalf, giving new Shane Waldron a weapon he can deploy in space horizontally and integrate into the running game. Eskridge’s athleticism should provide the Seahawks with some much-needed yards after the catch ability.
He also projects to be an ace on special teams, both as a gunner on punt coverage and potentially as the Seahawks kick returner. Eskridge returned 17 kicks in 2020 for 467 yards and one touchdown.
“I’m going in there and making a name for myself,” Eskridge said.
We won’t know for a while how Waldron plans to utilize Eskridge. Seattle’s newest speedster said he knows all three receiver positions and looks forward to showcasing his versatility with the Seahawks.
As for his new home, he said he doesn’t know anything about Seattle or the Pacific Northwest but added that he can’t wait to learn. That, along with everything else, will come in due time. What we know right now is that Eskridge will be given every opportunity be a major factor for the Seahawks as a rookie in 2021.