D'Wayne Eskridge Draft Profile
There is one prospect every year that just blows me out of the water. This year D’Wayne Eskridge completely shocked me. When watching his tape, I really didn’t know much about him. But now he is one of my favorite players in this entire draft. He plays much bigger than he actually is. Listed at 5’9, I thought he was playing above 6 feet. Eskridge is arguably the best prospect that Western Michigan has put out since Corey Davis in 2017. Eskridge may be the most electric receiver in this year’s draft.
The first thing that stood out when watching D’Wayne Eskridge is, god damn! He can fly! His speed kills, he’s capable of taking an ordinary slant route 80 yards to the house. Despite being listed at 5’9, Eskridge has an above average catch radius and he is capable of making both acrobatic grabs and catches with defensive backs draped all over him. Eskridge is versatile because he can play both in the slot, on the outside, and as a kick returner. Despite playing against lower level competition, Eskridge’s release package is one of the best in the draft and he just knows how to gain separation. He is another player that I’m much higher on than the rest of the national media. One thing that he knows how to do well is draw penalties. This is a skill that most receivers pick up later in their careers, but it seems like Eskridge gets held practically every play. He’s the only receiver in this draft that I’d call “feisty”. While he is only 5’9, he is an impactful blocker that is aggressive. Eskridge is going to come in and surprise everyone by being one of the best rookies in the NFL in 2021.
Eskridge’s biggest flaws have to do with circumstance. Playing at Western Michigan, he didn’t face a lot of top defenders. While playing against Ball State and Toledo might not “wow” anyone, balling out at the senior bowl does. Eskridge was able to get open fairly easily in Mobile, however he did drop quite a few passes. I also noticed a few dropped balls at Western Michigan and they all came on attempted body catches where he let the ball come to him. Overall, I don’t expect these flaws to overtake Eskridge’s abilities in the NFL.
There is no bigger day three steal than D’Wayne Eskridge. I have him graded as a day one pick, but right now I’m seeing him projected as a fourth round player. I could see Eskridge being a guy who gets some love the closer we get to draft day. It was hard to find a comparison for Eskridge, but his explosiveness reminds me a lot of Sammy Watkins and Odell Beckham. He isn’t as fast as Henry Ruggs, but he’s still fast and has similar playing style. He’s explosive after the catch and is a big play receiver. I love the big play ability that comes with Eskridge’s game and I believe a team like the Rams, Chiefs, or Jaguars could use a player of his ability. Eskridge is one of my favorite players in this year’s draft.
Route Running 8/10
Yards After Catch 10/10
Contested Grabs 6.75/8
Releases/ Top of Route 7/8
Catch Radius 6/8
Final Rating: 85
Pro Comparison: Henry Ruggs
Team Fits: Rams, Chiefs, Jaguars
Draft Ranking: First Round Caliber
Draft Projection: Fourth Round Pick