The writing appears to be on the wall for Dee Eskridge and the Seattle Seahawks; with Jaxon Smith-Njigba slated to jump right into the role of WR3 behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, the talented but injury-plagued third-year pass catcher has a steep hill to climb in order to make a dent on this roster. While his track record is marred by the aforementioned health issues, his raw talent has never been in question. This is assuredly a frustrating spot to be in for the young receiver, who undoubtedly believes that his best days as a pro are still ahead of him. But Eskridge is apparently using this frustration to fuel his training regimen, and his quarterback is taking notice; Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic reports that Eskridge and Geno Smith have been working together in Florida during the offseason, going on to say the following.
“I really see the growth in his mindset,” Smith said. “He wants it. He’s always wanted it and always had that ability, but I think he’s obviously had some setbacks, and I can see just in his mental makeup he’s ready to take that next step. It’s my job to help. That’s why I want to be there with him. He’s working his butt off. He’s super explosive out here on the field; he’s one of the most explosive guys I’ve ever seen. If we can get him where I think he’ll be, it’ll help us out a lot.”
Sounds like second year tackle Charles Cross has been working with them too.
Grinding on this good Sunday with Dee Eskridge and Charles Cross!! Working on the weekend like usual!— Geno (@GenoSmith3) May 7, 2023
This development has become apparent at Organized Team Activities, with Eskridge looking quick and fluid in his reps.
The sighting of a healthy Dee Eskridge leading a WR drill that includes Jaxon Smith-Njigba, DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett on day 1 of nine Seahawks OTAs @thenewstribune pic.twitter.com/Wirh8czWUn— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) May 22, 2023
Dee Eskridge, DK Metcalf lead Seahawks wide receivers on go routes and catches, first day of OTAs @thenewstribune pic.twitter.com/Opm8YXsulD— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) May 22, 2023
The team clearly saw enough in JSN’s body of work that they decided to make him a first round pick, and it isn’t difficult to see why. While it would be incredible to see Eskridge cast off his exceptionally unfortunate propensity for injury and emerge from this summer as an entirely new player, the more likely best case scenario is that he manages to stay relatively healthy and make an impact as a solid compliment to the expected trio of Metcalf, Lockett, and Smith-Njigba, as we have seen him do in bite-size bursts before. Either way, this is a big offseason for the former Western Michigan Broncos star. The proverbial clock is ticking for the third year pass catcher, given that he was already older than many rookies at 24; he will be 27 by the time he reaches the conclusion of his four year rookie contract following the 2024 season. His health and production in 2023 may go a long way towards establishing what his future as a pro will look like.