Heaps: One thing may hold top Seahawks pick D’Wayne Eskridge back

Jul 8, 2021, 12:38 PM
Seahawks D'Wayne Eskridge...
D'Wayne Eskridge has dealt with a toe injury this offseason. (Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire - Getty)
(Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire - Getty)

The Seattle Seahawks have been unlucky in recent years when it comes to some of their top draft picks staying healthy.

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In 2019, first-round pick L.J. Collier’s career got off to a slow start as he missed five game and started none after the defensive lineman injured his ankle in training camp.

A year before, running back Rashaad Penny, Seattle’s first-round selection in 2018, missed most of training camp with a hand injury and had a disappointing rookie season of his own.

Defensive end Darrell Taylor, a second-round pick in 2020, still hasn’t played in an NFL game due to his recovery from leg surgery following his final college game.

And then there’s Malik McDowell, Seattle’s top pick in 2017, who never appeared in a game for the Seahawks following an ATV accident.

Now in 2021, the Seahawks’ top rookie is wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge, who Seattle selected in the second round out of Western Michigan. He’s both speedy and strong, leading many to believe he could contribute right away for the Hawks.

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Except there’s one problem that’s all too familiar for Seattle, and it’s that Eskridge is dealing with a toe injury that limited him in OTAs and mandatory minicamp.

“As I look at D’Wayne Eskridge, the biggest question mark for him at this point in time is not how he’s going to be able to handle the playbook, not how he’s going to be able to catch the football, run routes – the role that he will have within this offense,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps said Wednesday. “It’s going to be, can he be healthy?”

Eskridge joins the Seahawks with a big opportunity in front of him, as Seattle’s No. 3 receiver spot behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett is open following David Moore’s departure in free agency. But that also means Seattle can ill afford another situation like it had with Collier and Penny where Eskridge is unable to get up to speed in training camp due to injury.

“He missed out on some valuable reps and opportunities with the team and with Russell Wilson in OTAs and minicamp,” Heaps said. “That is the one thing I think every Seahawks fan should be worried about when it comes to D’Wayne Eskridge. Can he recover from his injury that he had, and can it be something that he puts behind him and doesn’t creep back into the picture when it comes to training camp, preseason? Because I believe that D’Wayne Eskridge has the ability to be a true impact player for this team this year.”

You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts and more on the Seahawks in the Four Down Territory segment from Jake and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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Heaps: One thing may hold top Seahawks pick D’Wayne Eskridge back