Seahawks’ Tre Brown and Dee Eskridge: Who has best shot at a spot?

Jul 17, 2023, 11:40 AM

Seattle Seahawks Tre Brown...

Seattle Seahawks CB Tre Brown in action against the Steelers on Oct. 17, 2021. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

On each side of the ball, the Seattle Seahawks have a third-year player who joined the team with high hopes but has yet to fulfill their potential in the pros.

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On offense, the player in question is wide receiver Dee Eskridge, who was Seattle’s top pick in 2021, taken 56th overall in the second round out of Western Michigan.

The defensive player, meanwhile, is cornerback Tre Brown, who was the middle player of the Seahawks’ small three-player draft class that year, going 137th overall in the fourth round out of Oklahoma.

Injuries slowed both players down in their rookie years, though Eskridge has the edge in playing time by appearing in 10 games in each of the past two seasons while Brown has played in just 11 total.

Going into 2023, both Eskridge and Brown look to be on the roster bubble in loaded position groups for Seattle. So which of the two has the best shot at making the Seahawks’ roster this year? That was answered Monday on Brock and Salk’s Blue 88 by a guesting Michael Bumpus, a former Seahawks wide receiver who now co-hosts Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy in addition to serving as an analyst for the Pac-12 Network and host of the Seahawks radio pregame, halftime and postgame shows.

Let’s break down what Bump had to say.

Who has the best shot: Dee Eskridge or Tre Brown?

“Man, that is tough,” Bumpus initially responded when asked by guest hosts Mike Lefko and Maura Dooley. “And the reason why that’s tough is because I think Dee Eskridge is in a ‘make it or break it’ type of year. Third year in this league, you haven’t seen much of him, and you know that he’s not competing for a starting spot – he’s competing for that No. 4, No. 5 spot depending on how many receivers they take. And I look at Tre Brown and I think he’s kind of in the same situation. You have your two safeties, your two starting corners and your nickel (cornerback). Where’s Tre Brown going to make an impact?”

The answer will likely come down to who can do more than play just their regular position, and that gives Brown a clear edge.

“Here’s where defensive players always have the advantage, though,” Bumpus continued. “They’re the guys who are more than likely to make the kickoff team, the punt cover team, and make an impact there and then show, ‘Coach, I can play, let me get more reps when it comes to this defense.’ With receivers, if you’re not returning the football or you’re not… big and physical and you can go down there and make tackles, it’s going to be tough for you to kind of crack the code (on special teams). So naturally I lean towards Tre Brown because he’s been here and his abilities on defense and special teams.”

Brown came out of Oklahoma with a reputation for making big plays at key moments, but he hasn’t been on the field for those types of moments much in the NFL, getting just 21 snaps on defense last season. As for Eskridge, the explosiveness he was known for at Western Michigan hasn’t quite translated with the Seahawks, as his longest catch in two seasons went for 17 yards (though he has a 30-yard run to his credit).

“I think they were both brought here to play, unfortunately had some injuries that kind of set them back a little bit, and what NFL teams do is they don’t wait around,” Bumpus said. “They go out and they draft and they find guys for that spot just in case things don’t work out. So they’re both in the same position.”

That is certainly the case as the Seahawks added a first-round pick at both cornerback (Devon Witherspoon, No. 5) and wide receiver (Jaxon Smith-Njigba, No. 20) this spring. Even though everything seems equal for Brown and Eskridge, the latter is clearly not in as favorable of a position to make the roster.

“I’m looking at Tre Brown and I feel like he’s naturally going to get more opportunities because he’s going to be able to do more,” Bumpus said. “He can play nickel, he can play outside, and he can help on special teams. I think Dee Eskridge can help on special teams, but if he’s not making big runs on returns or anything like that, then he kind of gets lost in the mix. So I hope the best for both of those dudes, I think they can both play in this league, but if I had to pick one, I’m going with Tre Brown just because he can do a bit more.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment with Michael Bumpus in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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