2021 NFL Draft: Western Michigan two-way standout D’Wayne Eskridge’s sport extra than simply velocity


Western Michigan will not be thought of a soccer hotbed, however former Broncos like Taylor Moton, Greg Jennings and Corey Davis have made a huge impact on the NFL. D’Wayne Eskridge is hopeful that his identify is sooner or later talked about at the side of these others. 

The vast receiver traveled to Cell, Alabama in January with the intention of proving that he may play alongside abilities from conventional powers resembling Alabama and LSU. 

“It wasn’t actually a lot proving to anybody else, it was simply proving it to myself,” Eskridge stated. “Going into it, I knew that I used to be alleged to be there. I’m coaching round a number of the greatest guys right here with [Alabama WR] Devonta Smith, [Louisville WR] Dez Fitzpatrick, [UCLA RB/WR] Demetric Felton. Coaching with them and simply constructing the boldness taking place there, I knew that I used to be alleged to be there; simply doing my job is all I wanted to do.”

Eskridge is at present rated the No. 15 vast receiver and 104 prospect total. His efficiency on the Reese’s Senior Bowl earned a bump up within the upcoming prospect rankings replace. Few gamers can match Eskridge’s velocity  — he’s hoping to run a 4.29 second 40-yard sprint at Western Michigan’s Professional Day — and play-making means after the catch. 

In my three-round mock draft, he was a selection of the Patriots at No. 46 total.

A yr earlier, the Indiana native may hardly envision being in that place. 

“Earlier than coming into this season, I used to be able to go seventh spherical to undrafted,” he stated. “My complete factor was simply getting on a crew and staying on a crew, as a result of I do know my means and the way excessive my potential is.

“I actually inform [teams] that I’m a go-getter. It’s lots of stuff that I do not even like to elucidate about what I do as a result of I simply love to do it. I do not prefer to inform you about what I’m doing; put me in there and I’m going to do it 10 instances out of 10, even when I lose. There isn’t a breaking me. I’m at all times going to present the very best effort that I can provide. I do not know another velocity apart from the quickest velocity that I’ve. My purpose this yr is to make an affect on particular groups and my place group. I do know lots of guys coming into the league do not feel that manner, however it’s simply the little issues like that’s going to assist separate myself.”

In 2019, Western Michigan discovered itself in a pinch and requested Eskridge to play on protection along with his tasks on offense and particular groups.   

“I used to be actually taking part in each side. I used to be doing 1-on-1s. I used to be doing offense. I used to be doing protection,” he stated. “I used to be switching from white jerseys to black jerseys throughout crew durations. It took much more work as a result of I needed to grind at two completely different positions. They’re counterintuitive to one another actually. I had nice coaches that had been pushing me and had been keen to place within the additional work too. When you’re studying nook, it’s a massive distinction from operating forwards to transferring backwards. I needed to break down an entire lot of tendencies, however I simply credit score it to folks that had been serving to me and the work that I put in.”

Few gamers can play each side of the ball and carry out every at a excessive stage. 

“It simply exhibits how versatile and dynamic I’m actually. I do not really feel like there is only one place that I will be nice at. I really feel like I can transfer round loads and play at a excessive stage. Taking part in nook taught me moreso about receiver than nook; simply the power to acknowledge how a lot of a drawback I used to be taking part in nook towards a number of the receivers, what may I do to make myself susceptible and make myself get on my heels when a large receiver does particular issues. I took that to my sport taking part in vast receiver. It made me extra calm. I can acknowledge coverages loads higher. The velocity of the sport slowed down and now I’m comfy.”

Eskridge averaged over 20 yards per catch every of the previous three seasons. In a condensed 2020 season, he caught 34 passes for 784 yards and eight touchdowns. A damaged collarbone introduced his junior season to an abrupt finish.

“It was positively tough,” he stated. “On the identical time, I may say that’s the greatest progress of my life throughout my damage. It was robust on me the primary couple of weeks. I could not actually do something. I needed to have surgical procedure. As soon as I used to be again transferring and had a purpose to achieve, I discovered loads about myself. I accepted that I used to be greater than a soccer participant. If it was the top that day and I could not play soccer once more, I might settle for that and have the ability to achieve success with soccer and that simply made soccer much more enjoyable for me. I put loads on the road on the market and it helped me develop actually.”

After coming back from damage, he was greeted with a as soon as in a lifetime international pandemic.   

“Going into the quarantine, that was sort of loopy,” Eskridge stated. “It was horrible timing coming off of that as a result of I used to be prepared to begin the season after which they had been shutting it down, bringing it again up and I simply stored working. I knew the primary purpose. If I had to enter the draft that yr with none movie, I used to be keen to try this and I do know that some crew was going to get my greatest from me. It was simply lots of work and I’m grateful for the entire course of.”

Throughout quarantine, he created recollections together with his pal and teammate — offensive deal with Jaylon Moore — that won’t quickly be forgotten.

“That is my man. He was my roommate for the final two or three years. He’s a mirrored image of me,” Eskridge stated of Moore, who additionally attended the Reese’s Senior Bowl. “We had been those throughout quarantine making exercises out of nothing. We had a few weights and we had been outdoors doing all types of stuff. He’s only a reflection of me however in a much bigger physique. 

“We had a curl board, medication ball and stuff like that. I had Jaylon operating like me. We had been doing hills and stuff like that. I bear in mind him not desirous to say something to me as a result of I would not let him get off the simple manner. I took him via lots of ache that yr nevertheless it labored out for him.”



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