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Western Michigan Receiver Impresses Minus Explosion

Pro Days Update: Bears receiver coach Mike Furrey sees D'Wayne Eskridge run 4.38 for the 40 in cold weather at Western Michigan

D'Wayne Eskridge showed everyone what could happen at the Senior Bowl practices.

It didn't happen quite the same way at his pro day.

"I just feel like a ticking time bomb," Eskridge said via Zoom. "Just like the Senior Bowl. I exploded. People started know(ing) more of who I am and what I do on the field."

The bomb didn't go off on Thursday at his pro day, though—at least not by his standards or those of many questionable results in other pro day workouts held in this run up to the 2021 NFL Draft.

"I wanted to run a 4.29 today," Eskridge said after he was given credit for a 4.38-second time in the 40. "I don’t know what it was—it was a little bit cooler. I guess it just wasn’t my day for the 4.29, but I still like ... I'm a 4.29 guy, for sure."

The Bears were among the 29 teams represented at the pro day, and have talked with Eskridge via Zoom according to Bear Report's Zack Pearson.

The Bears were among those paying close attention during Senior Bowl week as teams tried to ascertain whether this was another MAC player capable of great success at the next level.

Eskridge has been projected by NFL Draft Bible as a fourth-round slot receiver pick. The Bears can definitely use more speed in the slot, even if he didn't show the good stuff at his chilly pro day.

"My numbers didn't quite match up to what I wanted them to be at today, but overall, I felt like I had a great day showing the things that they wanted to see, for sure," Eskridge said. "I just attacked it, so I'm coming out very proud of myself, but there's still more work to be done. So it's a steady grind, really."

Eskridge had 122 receptions for 2,244 yards at Western Michigan, with 15 touchdowns. He also has kick return ability and it's something the Bears could be interested in since they haven't signed Cordarrelle Patterson to another contract.

Eskridge's kick return experience is limited, though. He did it only in his final year and averaged 27.5 yards a return for 17 attempts.

Eskridge's career began not as a receiver or return man. He was a cornerback, and said that experience helped him become the receiver he's been.

"As a DB, I never knew what a receiver was doing, so I studied up on tendencies and all that," he said. "But me being able to attack blind spots, being able to know how to get over or under pressure, it just helped me become a full, all-around wide receiver."

Bears interest in Eskridge included Mike Furrey, according to Pearson. The Zoom meeting was with multiple members of the organization, including general manager Ryan Pace.

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VIEW: NFL Draft Bible's Analysis on Eskridge 

The Bears were among the 29 teams Thursday who took a look at another slot receiver with speed from a non-power conference—North Texas' Jaelon Darden.

His time in for the 40 was listed at 4.48. 

NFL Draft Bible rates Darden as a sixth-round draft pick and No. 14 overall among slot receivers.

"It was a good feeling to see this many teams show up," Darden told reporters. "Coming from where I come from, not too many people have this opportunity. It's amazing to see 29 teams out here just to see me. It means a lot."

Unreal and real 40 times continued at the pro days.

Mississippi released wide receiver Elijah Moore's time in the 40 at their pro day as 4.32. That ranked as the fourth-fastest time of the pro day 40s to date.

Two players on Penn State's defensive front were said to have run times normally associated with cornerbacks and receivers.

Defensive end Jayson Oweh was said to have run 4.36 at 6-5, 253 pounds. Teammate Micah Parsons is 6-3, 245 and was said to have run 4.39.

At the combine, there have been no official recorded times for defensive linemen faster than 4.4 in this century, and there have been only two by linebackers—Seattle's Shaquem Griffin (4.38) in 2018 and last year by Isaiah Simmons (4.39) of the Cardinals.

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