Western Michigan wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge is one of more exciting playmakers in the 2021 NFL Draft. Eskridge’s collegiate career begin 2016, where he had 17 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown. He also had 60 rushing yards on six carries. Then as a sophomore in 2017, Eskridge started to make a more noticeable impact on the Broncos’ offense. The 5-foot-9 wide out produced 30 receptions for 506 yards (16.9 YPC) and three touchdowns.
As a junior in 2018, Eskridge continued to show improvement as a wide receiver. He saw both his receiving yards (776) and receptions (38) increase. He additionally scored three touchdowns. Eskridge’s 22.7 yards per catch average, ranked 11th in the NCAA. The Indiana native entered his senior season ready to build off what he did in 2018. But he only played in four games due to a season-ending clavicle injury.
Despite only playing in four games, Eskridge saw some time at both wide receiver and cornerback. However, the 5-foot-9 receiver bounced back with a solid redshirt senior season. He produced 33 receptions for 768 yards (23.3 YPC) and a career-best eight touchdowns in six games. The Broncos also used Eskridge as a kick returner on special teams. For his efforts, he was named the MAC’s Special Teams Player of the Year and made first-team All-MAC at wide receiver and kick returner.
Eskridge will likely be selected either Day 2 or Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft, especially with his speed and ability to change a game with one play. The former high school track star ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at Western Michigan’s pro day in March, which matches what we saw from him on the football field.
The 5-foot-9 wide receiver is a dynamic playmaker that does not let his size define him. At WMU, he lined up predominantly on the outside. But in the NFL, Eskridge may have to be in the slot because of his size. He does a solid job of catching the ball with his hands and isn’t afraid to go over the middle. And once he gets the ball in his hands, the redshirt wideout showcases tremendous run after the catch ability and breakaway speed.
All in all, he’s an explosive player that could see an immediate time as a rookie. However, he will need to be a better route runner and showcase more diversity in his route running. At WMU, a few of his big plays came off of slant routes, where the cornerback was left on an island.
At the NFL, defenses will be able to recognize the RPO and remember to not leave their cornerback 1-on-1 with Eskridge. His game reminds me a lot of Marquise Goodwin and Mecole Hardman, which could bode well for him longterm.
Mock Draft landing spots
Aforementioned, former Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge is likely to be drafted between Day 2 and Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Various mock drafts have him being selected by the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, or Los Angeles Chargers in Round 3. All three teams could use a playmaker like Eskridge to add to their wide receiver core.
Fantasy impact: Rookie year
Eskridge will likely see a considerable amount of time on special teams this upcoming season. That does not help his offensive fantasy numbers, but could play a role when you look at D/ST streaming options on a weekly basis. As for offense, Eskridge could become a FLEX option, depending on how he’s being used. At WMU, he did not many touches to make a big play.
Fantasy impact: Career
Eskridge could become a legit WR2/WR3 in fantasy football down the road. He won’t be a receiver that will get you a lot of points in regards to catches. But with his ability to score big play touchdowns that could snag easy double-digit fantasy points. If Eskridge can add to his route tree and work on getting off the line of scrimmage, then there will be some opportunities for him to succeed in a passing league.