On the surface it didn’t appear as those the Seahawks needed to use their first draft selection over the weekend on a wide receiver.
However, the Seahawks’ offense stagnated in the second half of the season last year for a variety of reasons. The receiving options behind Lockett and Metcalf — Greg Olsen, David Moore, Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister, Freddie Swain — became less productive and quarterback Russell Wilson‘s play became more inconsistent as well. Injuries and issues on the offensive line became more prevalent as well.
With the Seahawks bringing in a new offensive coordinator in former Rams assistant Shane Waldron to move the unit forward, head coach Pete Carroll said having a consistent third option in the passing game was something they wanted to ensure they had this season. Selecting Western Michigan wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round on Friday night was a part of completing that puzzle.
“Shane has talked since we first started talking about schematically how we’re going about it, philosophically how we’re going about the offense about having three legitimate threats in passing situations so a defense can’t lock you down,” Carroll said. “It was one of the reasons Gerald [Everett] was such a big get for us, was such a great acquisition for us in the offseason to help us. But we always want to have three guys out there that they have to work with and contend with so they can’t just double guys up and take them out of the offense.
“We’ll find out how well D’Wayne fits it in that regard but we’re counting on him being a factor.”
Eskridge had a breakout season during his final year at Western Michigan, catching 34 pass for 784 yards and eight touchdowns in just six games played as part of the shortened season. He was named first-team All-Mid-American Conference and led the league in receiving yards and touchdowns.
“There were a number of smaller receivers, fast, speedy guys in this draft,” Carroll said. “But we saw him as 5-(foot)-9 something but he’s 190 something (pounds) too. He looks physical, plays strong, plays a dynamic style with the ball in his hands all that. I think one of the attributes that John liked early on when he first picked up was he’s got a uniqueness to him in that regard that we’ll hopefully be able to use in a number of ways.”