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Sports >  Seattle Seahawks

Grading the Seahawks draft: A lot of B’s and C’s for the Class of 2021

UPDATED: Tue., May 4, 2021

Wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan (1) was Seatte’s first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.  (Associated Press)
Wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan (1) was Seatte’s first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. (Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

The NFL draft is now over, all but the grading.

And sure, the only really accurate assessment of a draft will come in a few years when it’s apparent how the new members of the Seattle Seahawks perform on the field.

But what fun is it to wait?

And just think how boring it would have been if the 2012 draft class didn’t have all those disapproving grades to disprove the past nine years?

So, in the spirit of understanding these don’t necessarily mean anything, here is a roundup of what analysts had to say about Seattle’s 2021 draft class, a group that included just three players, two fewer than any in team history and tied for the fewest of any in the NFL since 1999.

And it hardly needs stating that having not a lot to grade meant the grades for the Seahawks were mostly middle of the road and seem to mostly center inevitably on how much analysts liked (or didn’t like) Seattle’s top pick, receiver D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan.

As a refresher, Seattle’s three picks were Eskridge at 56, Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown at 137 and Florida offensive tackle Stone Forsythe at 208.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

Grade: B-minus.

Kiper’s comment: “Well, the Seahawks entered this draft with only three picks. Jamal Adams is essentially their biggest prize from this class, as they traded their first- and third-round picks for him. They also dealt their fifth-rounder for guard Gabe Jackson and their seventh-rounder for Carlos Dunlap. So there’s no way I can grade this class too highly, but I’m not going too low, either, because I like who they got with their top two picks.

“D’Wayne Eskridge (56) is an impact returner and skilled slot specialist who will rack up yards after the catch from Russell Wilson. He averaged 213 all-purpose yards per game last season, which ranked second in the FBS. Tre Brown (137) is another slot player, this time on defense, as he could contribute as a nickel corner. At 5-foot-10, he’s not the biggest corner, but he battles in coverage and he has great speed. Stone Forsythe’s (208) ceiling is probably as a swing tackle.

“I like two of Seattle’s three picks, and so I don’t really know how to grade such a tiny class. I do think Adams is an impact player and that Jackson will help the running game, so I’m bumping this up a little bit.”

Chad Reuter,

Grade: B.

Reuter’s comment: “The jury is still out on whether sending two first-round picks to the Jets for safety Jamal Adams will prove to have been a wise move. His play in 2021, as well as the team’s ability to sign him to an extension, will determine the final grade. Eskridge gives Russell Wilson another explosive target, but the team’s lack of investment in the offensive line could prove costly.

“Brown is an undersized corner (5-10, 185) who doesn’t back down from receivers. He’ll help replenish an area of need after Seattle lost Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin in free agency. Forsythe may end up being the best pick of the draft because he has the potential to become a starter at left or right tackle; giving up a seventh-round pick to get him should prove to be a wise investment.”

Danny Kelly, The Ringer

Grade: C+.

Kelly’s comment: “The Seahawks came into this draft with just three selections, so it was always going to be tough for them to win the weekend. But I think they did just fine. Their first pick, Eskridge, is a late-breakout prospect who jumped into the second round after dominating MAC competition and impressing scouts at the Senior Bowl. He’s exactly the type of playmaker the Seattle offense is missing, as he has scintillating run-after-the-catch skills and the ability to turn a quick slant into a big gain. Brown is another old prospect (he’ll turn 24 in September) who lacks the traits the Seahawks typically look for in cornerbacks (they typically target tall, long-armed players), but he’s a feisty competitor who could compete for a starting role as a rookie. And Forsythe is a nice value pick in the sixth round - he ranked 98th on my board - who has the potential to emerge as a starter down the line.”

Pro Football Focus

Grade: C.

PFF comment: “Day 2: Eskridge represents a massive reach according to the PFF Big Board, as he ranks 164th overall and 24th among receivers. Still, he is a perfect fit for this offense, which has a history of turning players with his profile into success stories. Eskridge is undersized but extremely polished as a route-runner with great footwork and hand use at the line. He also brings legitimate speed, and if the Seahawks can get Tyler Lockett’s ball skills and physicality to rub off on him, he could justify this pick.

“Day 3: Tre Brown is incredibly undersized and will likely be kicked inside to the slot, but he brings that dog mentality and plays bigger than his size suggests. He showed it routinely at Oklahoma and then again at the Senior Bowl. Despite that smaller stature, Brown put the clamps on his opposition and racked up big-time ball production over the last couple of years. He put up a combined 22 pass breakups and interceptions since 2019, allowing well under a yard per coverage snap. Slot corners are starters and valuable players in the NFL, and Brown is a good pick to fill that job in Seattle.”

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News

Grade: C-minus.

Iyer’s comment: “With the fewest picks of any team – only three – it’s more of an incomplete grade for Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider. Unfortunately Eskridge wasn’t the right pick to upgrade receiver as a redundancy in skill set with Tyler Lockett. There’s nothing that really stands out about Brown and Forsythe as late-rounders.”

Nate Davis, USA Today

Grade: C-minus.

Davis’ comment: “Given they only had three picks … pretty flabbergasting – to QB Russell Wilson and The 12’s – that their highest one was used for a wide receiver, D’Wayne Eskridge in Round 2. It should be noted that G Gabe Jackson was plucked from the Raiders (and later extended) for a fifth-rounder in March. But it remains to be seen if S Jamal Adams was worth a pair of Round 1 choices – though the Seahawks tend to muck those up anyway – especially given how he was picked on by the Rams in the playoffs.”

Conor Orr,

Grade: B-minus.

Orr’s comment: “While there isn’t much ground to cover here (Seattle had a league-low three picks), D’Wayne Eskridge is notable in that he adds another athletic player into the fold for Russell Wilson just a few months after some anonymous grumblings about getting some help. With a new offensive system inspired by both Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan being installed, Eskridge is a player who can add to the fold behind the line, in tight-catch situations on the sideline and in the return game.

“Stone Forsythe, whom the Seahawks traded up for, is worth keeping an eye on if only because John Schneider has had some success scouring late rounds for usable offensive line talent before.”

Nick Gross, Yahoo Sports

Grade: B-minus.

Gross’ comment: “The Seahawks only had three picks in this draft because of previous trades. They did, however, add a special talent at wide receiver in D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round. Eskridge’s excellent speed will give Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson a reliable deep threat in the passing attack.”

Ben Rolfe, Pro Football Network

Grade: D-plus.

Rolfe’s comment: “Not much to say here with a Seattle Seahawks (team) that only made three selections. D’Wayne Eskridge may have been a reach but he is a fun playmaker to add to this offense. The real star pick of this class is probably Stone Forsythe, who is a nice value with the potential of significant playing time.”

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