Seahawks stay at 56, draft Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge

Apr 30, 2021, 6:22 PM | Updated: May 1, 2021, 2:52 pm
Seahawks WR D'Wayne Eskridge...
The Seahawks used the 56th pick on speedy WR D'Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan. (Getty)

Despite speculation that the Seahawks would trade down from their second-round pick due to having only three selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, Seattle stayed at 56 overall Friday night and gave star quarterback Russell Wilson a new weapon in the passing game: Western Michigan wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge.

Instant Reaction: 710 on Seahawks’ second-rounder D’Wayne Eskridge

The Seahawks were in need of a new clear-cut No. 3 wide receiver as David Moore, who held that role over the last three seasons, left Seattle in free agency to sign with the Carolina Panthers. Now, Eskridge will likely compete with 2020 sixth-round pick Freddie Swain to be the third wide receiver on the depth chart behind 1,000-yard receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

Eskridge, 24, starred for Western Michigan as a big-play threat during his college career, averaging 18.5 yards per reception during his career and over 20 yards per catch from 2018 to 2020.

Overall in his career, Eskridge caught 121 passes for 2,244 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 11 games in 2018, he had 38 receptions for 776 yards and three scores, and in 2020 he had 33 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in only six games.

Eskridge also showed value in the return game, averaging over 27 yards per kick return during the 2020 season, including one he returned for a touchdown.

Eskridge is a smaller target at 5 foot 9 and 190 pounds, but he can absolutely fly.

According to The Battle Creek Enquirer, Eskridge ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at his pro day in late March. Eskridge told reporters that he thinks he’s really someone who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds or even faster.

Michael Bumpus, an analyst and host for 710 ESPN Seattle and a former NFL receiver in his own right, listed Eskridge as a possible pick for the Seahawks throughout the draft process. He thinks Eskirdge can slide in as Seattle’s go-to slot receiver while Lockett and Metcalf line up on the outside.

Related: Bumpus on why the Seahawks should pick Eskridge

“This guy is a slot receiver,” Bumpus told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant ahead of the draft. “He’s shifty, he gets down into space, he can make something out of nothing, and he’s not making a lot of noise (ahead of the draft) … No one’s talking about this guy.”

Because Eskridge didn’t have a ton of pre-draft hype surrounding him, Bumpus felt he was someone the Seahawks could have their eyes on, especially with new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron now running Seattle’s offense.

“These are the types of guys that the Seahawks go after,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Look, I don’t care where you went to school or what your name is. Can you fit in this offense?’ And I see what (new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron) has done with the Rams and I think this guy can fit.”

With the second-round pick in the books, Seattle now just has two picks left in the 2021 NFL Draft – one in the fourth round and one in the seventh. Both picks will occur on Saturday.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

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Seahawks stay at 56, draft Western Michigan WR D’Wayne Eskridge