As loaded as the Seattle Seahawks are in the wide receiver room, is former second-rounder Dee Eskridge already the odd man out?
The Seahawks already have 1,000-yard options in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, then added PFN’s No. 1 WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft — which points to Eskridge falling off on the options front. Quarterback Geno Smith, however, thinks otherwise.
Geno Smith on Dee Eskridge: ‘Dee is Going To Do Some Things’
Since his arrival out of Western Michigan, Eskridge has managed to play in 20 games but has zero starts and only 17 career receptions. Injuries from a concussion to last season’s broken hand have hindered the 5’9″, 190-pound wideout.
Smith, however, confidently stated that Eskridge is bound to become a big emphasis on the Seahawks’ offense moving forward.
“Dee is going to do some things,” Smith said, via Curtis Crabtree of FOX 13 Seattle. “He’s getting ready to do many things. I know things have started slow for him but doesn’t matter.”
Eskridge is now fully healthy and was participating in drills on Day 1 of OTAs. Smith dove into what he’s really witnessed out of the incoming third-year wideout.
“I really see the growth in his mindset and his mentality. He wants it,” Smith said. “He’s always wanted it, and he’s always had that ability, but obviously, he’s had some setbacks. But I can see just in his mental makeup that he’s ready to take that next step, and it’s my job to help him, and that’s why I want to be there with him.”
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Smith adds he’s witnessed a relentless work ethic from Eskridge, even in what’s expected to be a highly competitive WR room in the Pacific Northwest.
“He’s working his butt off. He’s super explosive out here on the field. He’s one of the more explosive guys I’ve ever seen. If we can get him where I think he’ll be, I think it will help us out a lot,” Smith said.
How Eskridge Can Further Open Seahawks Offense
Seattle fans and Seahawk opponents already know how much of a mismatch Metcalf and Lockett are on the field together.
The former is the physically imposing size/speed option, while the latter is a textbook route runner with sudden releases to get defensive backs on their heels. JSN, meanwhile, comes in as a zone attacker and slot option.
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But even with three wideouts all considered a WR1, there’s still room for Eskridge to operate and take pressure off Smith and the others in the wideout arena.
When healthy, Eskridge brings his own quick-footed element to the Seahawks. He has a past history from his WMU days of hitting a second burst that leaves defensive backs playing catch up to him.
Even with his diminutive stature, Eskridge showed he’s unafraid to adjust to an errant throw and contorts himself into securing the reception. He’s shown a knack for coming back to the ball and having enough speed to track it down.
Eskridge will do so much better working with space, given the fact he’s a smaller speed option.
But Smith-Njigba’s presence on the opposite side, plus the inevitability of the Ohio State star likely commanding more attention among the slot options, bodes very well for Eskridge — as his speed can get him to blow the top off defenses and have the necessary field cushion to work with.
Of course, Metcalf and Lockett bring their field-stretching element…further eating up space for a healthy Eskridge.
The 2021 second-rounder has had a slow start to his career. But Smith’s bold statements indicate a potential breakthrough performer in the Pacific Northwest, plus one who’s hellbent on erasing his injury history to open up Seattle’s offense further.