Jake & Stacy: One thing to be excited about with each Seahawks draft pick
The 2021 NFL Draft has come and gone, and when the smoke cleared, the Seahawks came away with only three drafted players.
Seattle entered the draft with a league-low three picks due to a number of trades since last offseason, most notably the deal to acquire star safety Jamal Adams, and despite trading down at one point Saturday to nab a fourth draft selection, the Seahawks then used that pick to trade up in the sixth round for their third and final pick.
The three draft selections were far and away the fewest that the Seahawks have made since head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider came to Seattle in 2010 (the previous low was eight picks), but there is still intrigue and a lot to like when it comes to the three players the Seahawks selected.
Jake Heaps and Stacy Rost of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy each shared one thing to be excited about regarding Seattle’s three 2021 draft picks.
D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan
The Seahawks appear to have found their replacement for David Moore, the team’s No. 3 receiver the last three seasons, in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Rather than trading down from the 56th overall pick to acquire more selections, Seattle kept its pick and took Western Michigan receiver D’Wayne Eskridge, a speedy 5-foot-9 receiver who averaged over 23 yards per reception in 2020 while also contributing as a kick returner.
Heaps believes Eskridge can make the Seahawks’ offense “extremely dynamic” as “another true weapon” for quarterback Russell Wilson as well as new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
“I think that D’Wayne Eskridge is a guy that because of his ability to make things happen with the ball in his hands, you can find a way to get it in his hands in a variety of different ways,” Heaps said. “… He is going to stretch (opposing defenses) out horizontally and vertically, so he’s going to make the run game better and he’s going to make the pass game better.”
Rost is most interested in seeing all the different ways that the Seahawks get the ball in Eskridge’s hands – and not just on offense.
“Those plays behind the line of scrimmage – the idea of screens, jet sweeps or whatever they might be, I’m really excited to see how he’ll be used,” she said. “… I’m (also) curious to see what he can bring to special teams (as a returner) in terms of his speed. They were also looking at him as a potential gunner (on kick and punt return coverage), so it sounds like they’re just thinking that this guy can do whatever he wants.”
Tre Brown, CB, Oklahoma
After taking a short, fast player on offense with their first pick, the Seahawks took a short, fast player on defense.
Seattle traded down a few spots in the fourth round to pick up an extra sixth-round pick, then selected Tre Brown, a 5-foot-10 cornerback from Oklahoma, at 137th overall.
Cornerback was maybe the Seahawks’ top position of need entering the draft, and they addressed that with the selection of Brown, who despite being shorter than the prototypical Seattle corner is viewed by Carroll and Schneider as an outside cornerback despite his height and arm length.
Rost is excited to see Brown compete against the other cornerbacks on Seattle’s roster for playing time.
“It seems basic, but I’m most excited to see if he can start,” she said. “This is the most wide open I can remember a position group being for the Seahawks. Both spots – both cornerback spots – are open. It’s the first time I can remember that happening in a long time … I’m genuinely curious to know if he can (win a starting job).”
Earlier on Monday, Brown’s defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, Alex Grinch, joined Jake and Stacy to talk about what makes Brown an NFL player. The thing that stood out to Heaps from interviewing Grinch, who was defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Washington State from 2015-17, was his praise of Brown for both in “long speed” and “quick, short-area quickness.”
“The reason why that’s so important is he’s able to run and play with some of those burners down the field that you see in this league, but also (have) the ability to read and react and do it explosively,” Heaps said.
That speed, Heaps said, could help Brown do something that Seahawks corners have struggled with in recent years, and that’s taking the ball away from opposing offenses.
“Tre Brown has the ability to read and react and have this special, explosive ability to close onto the ball and to be able to break things up, to be able to generate interceptions,” he said.
Stone Forsythe, OT, Florida
The Seahawks’ first two draft picks lack size by NFL standards. With sixth-round pick Stone Forsythe, an offensive tackle from Florida, it’s the opposite.
While Eskridge and Brown make up for their shorter statures with speed, Forsythe’s size is what makes him stands out.
“He is so unique. He’s 6 foot 8, 6 foot 9, incredibly long, and your job as a tackle is to make Point A to Point B, which is the quarterback, the longest route possible (for defenders),” Heaps said. “With that length, you are inherently able to do that in a way that most other tackles and most other players are unable to do … He’s played in the SEC, he only gave up two sacks (in 2020), so he has a great understanding of how to use that length … Now can he build himself into that great all-around player?”
For Rost, she wants to see if Forsythe can live up to his perceived status as a “sleeper pick.”
“So many draft experts that I was reading thought the steal for the Seahawks was Stone Forsythe. He was expected to go as early as the second round,” she said. “… He got lots of knocks in his run blocking (which is likely why he slid in the draft). I’m most curious if we, as people watching in training camp, watching in the preseason or regular season when he does sub in, see him prove people wrong … Do we see him look like a steal?”
Listen to the full discussion in the third hour of Monday’s Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.
More Seahawks draft analysis from 710Sports.com
• Huard: Cade Johnson is Seahawks’ best UDFA signing and a steal at WR
• O’Neil: What we learned about Seahawks from their 3 NFL Draft picks
• Rost: What’s next for Hawks after draft, including possible reunions
• Gallant’s Observations: What stands out about Hawks’ picks
• Clayton: Seahawks get what they need even with just three picks