As pass-rushers become more and more refined and make more of an impact in the NFL, the need to get the ball out quickly has become a key focus for offenses. Getting the ball out and into a playmakers’ hands to allow them to create chunk plays is a valuable trait and GMs and coaches alike are searching for players that have this skillset.
While there are certainly players at the top of this 2021 NFL Draft WR class that have that skillset – Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith, for example – you don’t have to look far to find another big-play threat. D’Wayne Eskridge can absolutely fly on the football field and he’s going to be a perfect fit for NFL teams that want to rely on their receivers to keep defenses honest.
With that being said, Eskridge is not just a speed role player. He combines his athleticism with smooth route-running and fantastic release off the line of scrimmage. He creates separation at every level of the field and NFL coaches are going to fall in love with what he can bring to the table.
Is Eskridge flying under the radar right now from a fantasy football perspective? Can he be drafted highly enough in the NFL Draft to change the public’s opinion on him?
These questions are answered here in our scouting profile on D’Wayne Eskridge:
D’Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan
Weight: 190 lbs.
Arms: 30 1/2
40-Yard Dash: 4.38
Vertical Jump: 35
Broad Jump: 124
Short Shuttle: 4.22
3-Cone Drill: 6.95
Skills Breakdown (out of 100)
Route Running (77): Eskridge is a very diverse route-runner that lined up all over the formation at Western Michigan. He has incredible control and snap in and out of his breaks. He has a ridiculous ability to throttle down his speed or hit the gas that’s going to keep defenders at any level on their heels. Fantastic at selling routes and getting defenders to freeze. He dictates the terms.
Athleticism/Agility (81): One of, if not the most, explosive players in this draft class. Period. Has some of the most absurd acceleration and agility/short area-quickness. Top-end athlete that will be able to compete with any DB on the field.
Hands (75): Has good hands, but still shows areas to improve in this category. Has the occasional concentration drop and is hit-or-miss in contested situations. With an innovative offense coordinator, he won’t be in contested situations often, but has some highlight-reel grabs, while also missing a few layups. Just needs to improve his consistency in this area.
Contested Catch Ability (75): As mentioned before, has the ability to reel in catches in tight windows, but also has the tendency to drop easy layups. Needs to improve.
Run After Catch Ability (79): Eskridge is a true angle-buster in the open field with his speed and explosiveness. He has the ability to stop on a dime and then turn and destroy a defender’s angle to the tackle. Can go from 0-60 like few other players in the NFL.
Release (79): Violent and snappy release packages. Fantastic footwork at the line of scrimmage and he’s constantly engaging his hands and fighting to keep his body clean. Twitchy and explosive movements that get a defender on their heels almost instantly. One of his best traits.
Deep Ball Tracking (76): Good deep ball tracking ability, but wasn’t always hit in stride deep downfield. Can still work on adjusting to the ball and setting up the trailing defender, but it’s difficult to fully evaluate this trait with how frequently he was asked to corral in a pass underneath and then create after the catch.
Speed (81): Should be one of the fastest receivers in this year’s class. Has true breakaway speed on tape.
Look back on all 52,459 predictions @ConnorJRogers has made about the NFL Draft. He’s been correct on all of them. (Don’t quote us on that.)
This year, he’s got his eyes on WMU wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge ???? pic.twitter.com/uP6WWsN9wV
– The Lefkoe Show (@LefkoeShow) January 31, 2021
Just a little sample of what D’Wayne Eskridge has to offer. pic.twitter.com/wkzmTmKdTC
– Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) January 25, 2021
They Said It
Projected Draft Range
Reports on Eskridge’s projected range is all over the place but based purely on his talent, he’s worthy of a 2nd Round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spot
If the Cincinnati Bengals don’t add another weapon in free agency, they’re going to need to add a wide receiver at some point of the NFL Draft. Ja’Marr Chase is likely to be on the board for them still at number five overall, but if they choose to invest in the offensive line, Eskridge should be waiting for them in the second round. Adding Eskridge to a receiving corps of Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd would complement their skillsets and give Joe Burrow another weapon in the offense. With that landing spot, Eskridge should shoot up to a late 1st-round rookie pick.
From a pure speed standpoint, Eskridge is going to draw a lot of comparisons to Will Fuller. While Fuller is taller than Eskridge, Eskridge has a little bit more weight on his frame. He can work the underneath routes of the field more than Fuller can though and he doesn’t have to be relied on completely as a deep threat. However, when watching Eskridge, it’s easy to see the comparisons between the two players.