2021 NFL Draft Rumors: D’Wayne Eskridge rising, target for Packers, Saints, Bears

Just like a year ago, the cupboard is stocked at wide receiver. The position goes four rounds deep with quality prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Yet, when looking at pure speed receivers and pass catchers who can stretch the field, there’s about a half-dozen to be found in the top-100 picks. Western Michigan product D’Wayne Eskridge is one of them, and teams such as the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Chicago Bears may target him early on Day 2.

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Is D’Wayne Eskridge moving up boards?

Eskridge has seen a monumental climb in his draft stock since the delayed start of the 2020 MAC season. He entered his senior campaign graded as a street free agent who was coming off an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. But in six games last year, Eskridge totaled 34 receptions, 784 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Eskridge then went on to impress NFL decision-makers with two terrific days of practice at the Senior Bowl, where no one was able to cover him.

A sprint champion who is also an experienced cornerback, Eskridge timed 4.35 seconds in the 40 during the Western Michigan Pro Day, a mark that disappointed the wideout. During a recent interview, Eskridge told me he expected to get under 4.3 seconds. He added that he would’ve timed in the 4.2s was it not for a poor start, a start in which he popped up high out of his stance.

Regardless, he plays fast, which is all that matters.

In my most recent 2021 NFL Draft scouting report, I had this to say about Eskridge.

“Three-year starter coming off a terrific senior campaign. Eskridge is quick-footed, uses his hands to separate from defenders, and can turn it on in a single step. Fast and possesses a second gear as well as a legitimate downfield burst.

Nicely adjusts to the errant throw, makes the difficult catch in contorted positions, and looks at the ball go into his hands. Easily makes the reception in stride at full speed. Comes back to the ball out of breaks and displays soft hands. Gives effort blocking when the situation presents itself.”

Will Eskridge go as early as Round 2 in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Many in the league feel Eskridge has cemented himself as a late second-round selection. So who’s looking at him as Round 2 closes out?

I’m told the speed-needy Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints are two teams that are high on Eskridge. So too are the Chicago Bears, who are presently shopping third-year wideout, Anthony Miller.

Want more 2021 NFL Draft prospect news? Want to do your own mock draft?

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Tony Pauline is the Chief Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.


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