With the 56th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks have selected Western Michigan wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge.
With just three picks in this draft, there was obvious speculation that John Schneider would want to trade back. Instead, Seattle added weaponry alongside Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. In 2020, Eskridge caught 33 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in just six games.
"This guy is a speedster. He won the 100 and 200 meter in the state of Indiana," Joel Klatt said on NFL Network's broadcast. "He was a playmaker at Western Michigan. I like this pick for the Seahawks, more firepower for them."
Prior to the draft, former NFL wideout Steve Smith shared on NFL Network that Eskridge was his Day 2 draft crush.
Eskridge, 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, is a supreme athlete who made a brief switch to cornerback in college before returning to the offensive side of the football. He's viewed as an elite special teams prospect as well and will likely become one of Seattle's gunners on punt coverage immediately. He also returned kicks in 2020 with 467 yards and one touchdown on 17 returns.
Eskridge will be the favorite to be the Seahawks No. 3 wide receiver, ahead of 2020 draft pick Freddie Swain.
NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein gave Eskridge a Round 3 grade and said his NFL comparison is Jacoby Ford.
"He's not a great route-runner, will struggle with contested catches and lacks desired size, but he can really fly and has home run potential from anywhere on the field," Zierlein wrote in his profile of Seattle's new wideout. "Eskridge is a linear route-runner with good tempo when working down the field but will need a more limited route tree featuring crossing routes, slants, posts and over routes so he can rely on his speed rather than route-running."
That home run ability, particularly in space, should make him a perfect complement to Metcalf and Lockett while being a versatile weapon Shane Waldron can deploy in a myriad of ways.
One note, standout centers Creed Humphrey and Quinn Meinerz were still on the board at No. 56. The Seahawks picking a receiver instead is likely a vote of confidence in Ethan Pocic.