Why Undrafted?: Durell Eskridge

Why Undrafted?: Durell Eskridge, S, Syracuse
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

A lot was made that the 2015 NFL Draft lacked talent at the safety position. Only one safety was selected in the first round, while there were only three true safeties taken on the second day. One player who had some late media buzz leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft was Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge. He entered the draft early after two seasons leading the Syracuse defense. Eskridge recorded 62 tackles with one interception and three passes broken up in 2014. As a sophomore, he had four interceptions with 78 tackles. The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder didn’t help his cause at the Combine with a 40 time of 4.63 seconds.

Sources say the reason that Eskridge went undrafted was because he didn’t simply grade out as anything more than an undrafted free agency target. Eskridge didn’t show well enough in pass coverage the past two seasons, and his run-defense tackle totals weren’t anything that blew away NFL evaluators.

After going undrafted, Eskridge signed with the New York Jets. The Jets are a mixed choice. The good news for Eskridge is that he signed with a team that has a new coaching staff and general manager, so there won’t be as much loyalty to recent draft picks or free agents signed before 2015. In those situations undrafted free agents and late-round picks are given more of a fair chance to compete.

That being said, Calvin Pryor is the starting strong safety and was a consensus first-round talent just a year ago. Jets head coach Todd Bowles is a former defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, so New York’s signing Marcus Gilchrist this March is a move that Bowles obviously was on board with. Eskridge will have to beat out Jaiquan Jarrett and Antonio Allen for a roster spot. That seems feasible, so overall, Eskridge chose a good team to sign with. He needs to really excel on special teams to make the final 53-man roster or practice squad.

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