As the Seahawks prepare to open training camp on Wednesday, they will kick off the festivities with three players sidelined by injuries, placing receiver D'Wayne Eskridge and running back Travis Homer on the physically unable to perform list and placing guard Pier-Olivier Lestage on the non-football injury list.
The designations indicate all three players were not able to pass their physicals prior to the start of camp. Per league rules, all three players will be eligible to activate at any time before the start of the regular season.
Eskridge, who Seattle selected in the second round out of Western Michigan in April's NFL draft, was limited for a large chunk of OTAs and mandatory minicamp while nursing a big toe injury. He was only able to participate in walkthroughs and watched from the sidelines during team drills.
Unfortunately, high draft picks suffering injuries before or during training camp isn't something new for the Seahawks. Last year, Darrell Taylor didn't play a single snap as a rookie due to setbacks recovering from leg surgery. In 2019, L.J. Collier missed most of camp with a high ankle sprain and wasn't 100 percent when he returned to action, while Rashaad Penny underwent surgery on his hand and missed several preseason games in 2018.
The severity of Eskridge's injury remains unclear and it's worth noting that coach Pete Carroll said Seattle was "making sure he doesn't overdue it early" by trying to practice through the toe injury in June. The fact he's still dealing with the injury six weeks later makes the situation seem a bit more ominous, but Carroll will have a chance to update his condition following Wednesday's practice session.
If Eskridge has to miss extensive time, that's a significant blow to Seattle's receiving corps heading towards the season. The explosive playmaker was expected to be the favorite to take over as the team's No. 3 receiver behind stars Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf and potentially be in the mix to return kicks and punts, but this could set him back tremendously missing crucial reps as a rookie.
In Eskridge's absence, former sixth-round pick Freddie Swain, Penny Hart, Cody Thompson, John Ursua, and a host of other receivers should receive more opportunities during team drills as they try to make strong impressions on new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron.
As for Homer, the third-year running back out of Miami didn't participate at all in OTAs and minicamp due to a calf injury. He ended the 2020 season on injured reserve with a separate knee issue and missed the final seven regular season games.
With Homer out, more opportunities will be available for DeeJay Dallas, Alex Collins, and undrafted rookie Josh Johnson, who will all be vying for a roster spot in a crowded backfield.
Lestage, an undrafted rookie out of Montreal University, underwent sports hernia surgery late in OTAs and is currently in the middle of rehabbing from the operation. A timeline for his potential return to the field remains unknown, but when activated, he's expected to compete at guard and could see some work at center as well.