Over the next few weeks, the Broadway staff will be taking a closer look at prospects the Titans could look to target in the 2021 NFL Draft based on positional need.
Today I am looking at one of my personal favorite players in this draft, who also happens to play a position at which the Titans need an upgrade.
D’Wayne Eskridge | WR | Western Michigan
Games I watched: Toledo (2020), Central Michigan (2020) and Ball State (2020).
A prospect that spent time as both a wide receiver and cornerback throughout his collegiate career, D’Wayne Eskridge played in six games in 2020 and recorded at least 114 receiving yards in every game but one. He caught eight touchdowns in those six games and averaged more than 20 yards per catch for the third straight season. If Western Michigan had played a full regular season in 2020, Eskridge’s numbers would have been even sillier than they are.
I watched several of Eskridge’s 2020 games and came away smiling each time. The first thing that jumps out at you when scouting Eskridge is how dynamic he is with the ball in his hands. There came a time during my scouting process where I was starting to expect Eskridge to score nearly every time he touched the ball.
He is incredibly difficult to deal with throughout the entire process of a rep. From the moment the ball is snapped, Eskridge does a great job creating separation by getting into his releases with clean and crisp movements. He is patient, and it’s evident that his experience as a two-way player serves him well in this area. From there, Eskridge looks to make a big play after the catch the second he gets the ball in his hands.
Despite playing defensive back for a portion of his collegiate career, Eskridge is a seasoned route runner. It’s actually shocking how advanced this area of his game is considering he was rarely afforded the opportunity to focus on just being a wide receiver.
You always have to watch for the quick slant route when lined up with Eskridge in coverage. Given any sort of cushion, his breakaway speed can turn a cornerback’s cautious approach into a mistake that costs the defense seven points.
Eskridge’s tape is littered with TD catches that are mostly a result of his ability to pick up chunks of yardage after the catch:
I can go on and on.
Eskridge also makes a pretty big impact on special teams. Eskridge is a dynamic player in the return game where he showcases the potential to be an elite kickoff and punt returner at the next level. Whichever team drafts him should immediately slot him into both roles.
Eskridge has exciting tools both as a pass catcher and as a return man.
At 5-foot-9 and 188 pounds, it’s obvious that Eskridge doesn’t have great size for the position. Although his frame never held him back at Western Michigan, it will be interesting to see how he fairs against better competition in the NFL.
Eskridge will get labeled a “small school prospect” throughout this process. For what it’s worth, Eskridge went down to the Senior Bowl back in January and was just as dominant against all of the Power Five prospects in attendnace as he was in the MAC. I personally don’t have any concerns here, but it will get mentioned.
Eskridge played both inside and outside at WMU, and I believe he’ll enter the NFL with the same versatile ability, but it’s fair to wonder if he’ll be able to survive on the outside at the next level given his smaller-than-ideal frame.
Does he fit the Titans?
Yes. Even if the Titans bring Corey Davis back, they’re going to need at least one more wide receiver. Somebody has to replace Adam Humphries in the slot. In addition to that, this team needs more speed at the receiver position. Eskridge would check a lot of boxes in Tennessee.
I expect him to come off the board on Day 2.
I can’t share my All-22 film here, but you can form your opnion on Eskridge by watching a couple of his Youtube cutups: