We mentioned yesterday the buzz around Western Michigan wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge, whose combination of hands, footwork and speed propelled him to a tremendous first day of Senior Bowl practices. That continued on Wednesday, as Eskridge turned in another solid performance. Once again Eskridge showed the ability to separate on route to all levels of the field, and flashed some hand strength in the few contested catch situations he faced.
The big issue now is, how high can he rise in the draft? ESPN’s Todd McShay was not shy about how he felt on Wednesday, saying that it would not shock him if Eskridge was a first round pick.
The potential is certainly there, but the value will be the question. Given his size, Eskridge projects primarily as a slot receiver, and the bulk of his work in Mobile came with him working out of the slot. This will drive people back to his Western Michigan film, to see if he can work on the outside and perhaps beat press coverage.
Similar to a discussion that was had last year about Justin Jefferson.
The Broncos did use Eskridge on the boundary, where he faced some press alignments and seemed to handle them with ease. Take this example against Toledo, with Eskridge aligned to the top of the screen:
Eskridge works through the attempted jam thanks to his footspeed, which gets him inside the cornerback and in position to catch this quick in-cut.
Now, will his work down in Mobile, and against MAC coverage corners, be enough to satisfy NFL teams that he is worthy of a first-round pick? Maybe, and maybe not. But the fact that we are having this discussion is evidence that he will leave town in very good position for the draft.