Fans weren’t the only ones pounding the table for a third receiver. Shane Waldron demanded one, too. And John Schneider got him one.
Waldron, Seattle’s new OC, wants to have three good receiving options on the field at all times, and Western Michigan speedster D’Wayne Eskridge now joins fellow Day 2 rocketeers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf to create that.
“Shane has talked … about having three legitimate threats in passing situations so a defense can’t lock you down,” Pete Carroll said. “It was one of the reasons Gerald (Everett) was such a big get for us. But we always want to have three guys out there … so they can’t just double guys up and take them out of the offense. We’ll find out how well D’Wayne fits it in that regard, but we’re counting on him being a factor.”
Some scouting reports on the 5-9, 190-pound Eskridge, who runs a 4.39 40:
“With his ability to turn small plays into big plays, Eskridge is the definition of a playmaker due to his explosive feet and ability to mix his speeds as naturally as you or I breathe. … Eskridge is undersized and must sharpen his route tree, but he is a gifted athlete with the speed, toughness and promising pass-catching traits to warrant early NFL playing time on offense and special teams.” – Dane Brugler, The Athletic.
“Quick-footed, uses his hands to separate from defenders and can turn it on in a single step. Fast and possesses a second gear as well as a legitimate downfield burst. Nicely adjusts to the errant throw, makes the difficult catch in contorted positions and looks the ball into his hands. Gives effort blocking when the situation presents itself. Eskridge is a home-run threat, averaging more than 20 yards per catch the past three years.” – Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network.
“He’s not a great route-runner, will struggle with contested catches and lacks desired size, but he can really fly and has home run potential from anywhere on the field. Eskridge is a linear route-runner with good tempo when working down the field but will need a more limited route tree featuring crossing routes, slants, posts and over routes so he can rely on his speed rather than route-running. …. He has gadget potential in the quick game and is a potentially dangerous kick returner, but his biggest selling point might be as a field stretcher from the slot.” – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com.
Carroll agrees Eskridge is a go-go gadget guy: “He definitely is a guy that we can hand him the football, we can flip it to him, we can do things with him behind the line of scrimmage. He’s run very effectively on reverses and stuff like that, and the returns show that as well. We were looking for a receiver that would have all of that kind of versatility, and he was really an exciting one to get.”
Eskridge’s quickness should come in handy as Waldron works with Russell Wilson to get the ball out in tempo.
Earlier this week, Carroll said, “Russ has always been good at all rhythms, but I’ve always felt he’s at his best when we’re really quick with the football and it’s coming out of his hand in a hurry.
“We’re trying to accentuate the rhythm part of it and how that fits with the play actions and things we love to do down the field and be explosive with.”
Carroll said Waldron has “been really, really impressive” as he puts together the offense, blending old and new.
“He’s got a great brain on him about our system of football and how the system works together and fits together and the communications of it,” the coach said. “The real crucial part is: Can you convey it? We’ll see. We have to get on the field and all that kind of stuff.
“I couldn’t be more excited about it,” Carroll added. “We’re able to find the strengths that we’ve had in the past and things that we’ve done really well, and they’re all incorporated into the new format that we’re unveiling. I’ve been around a lot of coordinators and a lot of games and a lot of offseasons and all. I’m as impressed with this process as much as I’ve ever been and as excited as I’ve ever been.”
Attention! No center
It seemed like every Seahawk fan and plenty of media wanted Schneider to draft Senior Bowl star Quinn Meinerz to come push for the center job. But the Hawks obviously prioritized receiver and had no interest in giving up a 2022 pick to jump back into the third round to get Meinerz, who was drafted by Denver at 98 overall.
The Hawks also passed on centers Josh Myers, Creed Humphrey and Kendrick Green. Needless to say, that choice will be dissected by fanalysts over the next few years.
It wasn’t a real surprise, though. As ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson said before Day 2 started, “The Seahawks consider Ethan Pocic a solid starter at center … (and) may not consider that spot as pressing of a need as observers do.”
Day 3 options
The Seahawks ended up not trading down to add any picks, so they still have only 129 and 250 today. That could change, but Schneider said, “I don’t know if we have quite the firepower.”
Among the guys the Hawks might consider, if available in the fourth round, are East Carolina LT D’Ante Smith, Stanford C Drew Dalman, Texas A&M DT Bobby Brown, Purdue LB Derrick Barnes, West Virginia DT Darius Stills and Georgia CB DJ Daniel.
Schneider expects UDFAs to like the Seahawks: “When we’re working on these guys to be able to convince them that they’re going to have a clean opportunity, just naturally when you have three draft picks I think we’re going to be a very, very attractive landing spot.”