Every year there seems to be one smaller school darling at a group of 5 school that steals the hearts of a lot of the draft community. Last year, Antonio Gibson was that guy and early on in this draft cycle, Kenneth Gainwell was as well. For me, it’s Western Michigan wide receiver, D’Wayne Eskridge. After PJ Fleck left for Minnesota after making a Sugar Bowl appearance, Western Michigan went back to being a part of the MAC and didn’t factor into the national discussion. Eskridge however has brought them back into the forefront with his outstanding senior season. Only playing in 6 games due to COVID-19, Eskridge put up 34 receptions for 784 yards (23.1 YPC) and 8 touchdowns along with one kick return for a score. His journey to the next level was a long one being a 5th year senior but one that I believe has paved a way for him to be a difference-maker at the next level.
|100-95||All-Pro||Early Round One|
|94.99-90||Pro Bowler||Mid Round One|
|89.99-85||Day One Starter||Late Round One|
|84.99-80||Potential Starter/Early Contributor||Round Two|
|79.99-75||Potential Starter/Early Contributor||Round Three|
|74.99-70||Spot Starter/Special Teams Day One||Round Four|
|69.99-65||Backup/Special Teams||Round Five|
|59.99-55||Backup/Special Teams||Round Six|
|59.99-55||Potential Backup||Round Seven|
Strengths: First thing that pops on the tape is his explosiveness, able to explode out of the blocks and break away from defenders with ease. Eskridge is great in open space, showing the vision to find the space in the open field and exploit it. Does a really good job catching the ball away from his body. Shows varied releases at the line of scrimmage. Knows how to beat press coverage from his time as a cornerback. Displays the ability to track the ball and has the speed to run underneath it. Appearing on Bruce Feldman’s freaks list with a 350 lb bench and 505 lb squat, plays physical and has the strength to run though tacklers. Return game is a plus for Eskridge. Route running is a plus, showing that he can drop his hips through breaks, allowing him to explode out of them with ease.
Weaknesses: Standing only 5’9″ tall, his height could be a hindrance going against bigger cornerbacks. Level of competition will also be a big question moving forward, as defenders will be much better athletes than those in the MAC. Could use some work with boxing out cornerbacks on deep routes. .
|Grade||84.5/100 Second Rounder|
D’Wayne Eskridge is an explosive receiver who will be drafted in a position to contribute right away as a playmaker but not expected to be the guy. Given the opportunity to develop in the right offense, he has all the skills to thrive as a playmaker. If the Chiefs end up with Eskridge, the entire league is going to be asking why they let that happen. He has the juice to be explosive in the passing and return games.