Seahawks Draft Breakdown: A detailed look at each ’21 Seattle NFL Draft pick
The Seahawks came into the 2021 NFL Draft with three needs ranking above all – wide receiver, cornerback and offensive line – and just three draft picks to work with.
Looks like three selections were enough to check off all of those boxes.
Seattle made a pair of trades during the draft but ended up with the same amount of picks, and perhaps most surprising they stayed put at No. 56 in the second round Friday, which was their first pick of the three-day, seven-round draft.
Of course, Seahawks general manager John Schneider has made an annual tradition to send off the next year’s sixth-round pick to get back into the seventh round when everybody thought he was done, so we weren’t too quick to rule that out happening before all was said and done Saturday afternoon – until he himself confirmed it.
Carroll and Schneider confirm they're done picking for the day. So they'll end with three picks: WR D'Wayne Eskridge, CB Tre Brown, and OT Stone Forsythe.
— Stacy Jo Rost (@StacyRost) May 1, 2021
With Seattle having made all of their choices for this year, let’s take a look at each of the Seahawks’ new players.
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan (56th overall)
The expectation was that Schneider would look to trade down from Seattle’s second-round pick and add more selections down the line. At this point, however, people know to expect the unexpected with the Hawks. And in this case, the unexpected was sticking at the No. 56 spot to pick a wide receiver that 710 ESPN Seattle’s own Michael Bumpus advocated for the Seahawks to select over a week before the draft.
“There’s this kid out of Western Michigan, D’Wayne Eskridge, who I like,” Bumpus said April 21 while on Danny and Gallant. “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… and these are the types of guys that the Seahawks go after.”
So what do the Seahawks like about Eskridge?
“Just a really explosive guy. Can really throttle his speed. Tough,” Schneider said Friday night while taking questions from the media. “We’re getting a guy that can play a number of different positions. He’s a kickoff returner, could be a gunner. There’s a really cool shot of him as a gunner against Central Michigan where he just throttles somebody. We’re getting a guy that’s competitive, hungry, intense. He’s got some dog to him.”
Head coach Pete Carroll added that Eskridge’s background as a former cornerback is intriguing.
“The versatility, the overall athlete that he is, the person that he is, he’s really smart and bright and wide open and team-oriented and all of that,” Carroll said. “I think it just showed the variety and the spectrum of this guy’s ability. We love the explosiveness part of it, but you can also see there’s a few clips of him and you can see when he’s playing defense, he was physical. He went after guys, which we love what he brings to the wide receiver position because our guys are called on to block a lot in our offense and it’s a big part of the game. That was one of the additional elements that just added to why we liked D’Wayne so much. We really thought about it.”
For more on Eskridge, check out the stories at the links below.
Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma (137th overall)
While the Seahawks didn’t trade down at first on Day 2, they found an opportunity to add volume to their draft on Saturday morning, shipping their original 129th overall pick in the fourth round to Tampa Bay in exchange for the 137th pick in the same round plus the 217th overall selection in the sixth round.
When their new turn in the fourth round came up, Seattle addressed a second of three positions that were identified as its biggest areas of need going into the draft by grabbing Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown.
The fact that the Seahawks picked a corner wasn’t a surprise, but that corner being Brown was a bit shocking because his size – 5 foot 10, 180 pounds with 30 3/8-inch arms – is smaller than the team tends to look for at the position.
Brown has big-game experience, at least, and he left his mark in Oklahoma’s Big 12 Championship win last December with a game-clinching play late in the fourth quarter.
— Stadium (@Stadium) December 19, 2020
On Twitter, 710 ESPN Seattle host and former Seahawks practice squad quarterback Jake Heaps said he sees similarities between Brown and a recent Seahawks draft pick.
“Tre Brown reminds me a lot of current Seahawks CB Ugo Amadi,” wrote Heaps. “Brown plays with an extreme edge. Tough, physical despite his size and is a complete special team ace. He will contribute on special teams right away. We will see if Brown can grow his role from there.”
That left a question of whether Seattle planned on Brown competing for a starting role on the outside or instead use him as another option at nickel cornerback along with Amadi and Marquise Blair, but Carroll said in a post-draft press conference that the Seahawks don’t plan for him to play the nickel.
Carroll says new Seahawks CB Tre Brown will play and compete on the outside: "We didn't draft him as a nickel, if that's what you're asking."
— Stacy Jo Rost (@StacyRost) May 1, 2021
Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida (208th overall)
The Seahawks may be looking at the future of Russell Wilson’s protection with the mammoth Forsythe.
The 6 foot 8, 307-pounder is unlikely to walk into a starting role on Seattle’s offensive line, as Duane Brown and Brandon Shell have the tackle spots locked down for 2021. But Forsythe is a player many expected to go much sooner than the sixth round of the draft. Former NFL offensive lineman and current analyst Geoff Schwartz was particularly impressed with Seattle getting Forsythe so late.
Seahawks pick up @stone_forsythe … another great move. Potential successor of Duane Brown and can also get reps behind Brandon Shell this year.
— Michael Bumpus (@michaelbumpus5) May 1, 2021
While Forsythe will have time to learn the ropes in Seattle, he had a good amount of important experience playing in the SEC at Florida. It’s also worth noting that he protected the blindside of quarterback Kyle Trask, a 2020 Heisman Trophy finalist who was picked in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be the possible successor to Tom Brady.
Forsythe is the second straight Gator to be a sixth-round Seahawks selection, joining wide receiver Freddie Swain from the 2020 draft. Forsythe told reporters after Seattle selected him that he’s excited to reunite with his buddy from college, as well.