When Tre Brown lined up across from D'Wayne Eskridge during rookie minicamp, it was the first time Seattle's top two picks in the 2021 draft got a chance to test themselves against each other.
It was not, however, the first time Eskridge, a second-round pick out of Western Michigan, and Brown, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, had gone head-to-head. The two played in different conferences and never crossed paths in college, but they did face each other in the Senior Bowl and both ended up being players who stood out at that pre-draft event and helped their draft stock in Mobile, Alabama.
"We had some reps going against each other," Eskridge said… "He's a competitor, I'm a competitor, so we just go out there and get after it every time we go against each other, so I always like going against him.
The most noteworthy play of the weekend involving those two saw Eskridge beat Brown to get open for a deep reception in seven-on-seven drills. The play showed off Eskridge's explosiveness, to be sure, but it will hardly go down as an indictment of Brown's skills either. Brown had plenty of positive moments over the weekend, and he'll surely have more between now and the start of the season. And even if he got beat deep on that particular play on Saturday, Brown enjoyed testing himself against his new teammate.
"Man, he's quick," Brown said. "He's quick and he's also strong, and he knows how to hold his line just running his routes and everything. And also he's a humble guy, he's one of the most humble guys that I've ever met. And when you have humbleness and competitiveness, man, it's hard to beat those things."
And not to take anything away from Eskridge's play, but Brown also had a slight disadvantage in that he was spending his weekend working on the Seahawks' preferred step-kick technique that, while not entirely new to him, is not something he did often in college. Brown and undrafted free agent corner Bryan Mills spent a significant part of Friday and Saturday's practices working with defensive passing game coordinator Andre Curtis on that technique, and Brown knows he'll have to put in the reps to master the style of play the Seahawks demand of their corners.
"You've got to have repetition," he said. "… I haven't done that (technique) in a while. So it's all about getting back to that, getting used to that and just repping that so I can perfect it."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who made it clear after the draft that Brown is coming to Seattle to compete for a spot as an outside corner despite his 5-foot-10 stature, liked what he saw early from the rookie out of Oklahoma.
"(Friday) he did a really nice job of demonstrating that he understands how the game works in that he stayed on top on everything," Carroll said Saturday. "He was in the right spots. He looked very comfortable, he looked very fast, very speedy out there staying with everybody that we ran at him. I'm anxious to see (Saturday's film), because we just gave him some more looks and some more things to do, but he looks like he's going to be a real competitive player. He made a couple plays out here today that did catch my eye. He's very burst-y and looks like he's going to take his shots and be an aggressive corner. That's what he showed in college, and he showed it out here in the couple spots I saw today."
As for Eskridge, Carroll has pointed to the receiver's speed and explosiveness on a number of occasions, but what also stood out over the weekend was Eskridge's attitude.
"He's got a got chip on his shoulder," Carroll said. "He's going prove it that he belongs. That's probably as valuable as anything he could bring to our club. He's talented. You can see it already that he's quick and explosive, caught the ball well, he's also got good strong hands. So he's made nothing but good impressions so far, but I'm really fired up about his attitude, because he's here to prove something and that always brings out the best in guys."
The competitiveness Carroll likes in Eskridge is also readily apparent in Brown, and it's a trait that should help both of those 2021 draft picks continue to push each other while also leading to some fun moments in training camp.
"It's what it's all about, it's about competing," Brown said. "He's here for reason just like I'm here for a reason. That guy's really good, he was drafted here. So he's making the best of his opportunities just like I'm making the best of my opportunities. So we're going to make each other better."
Seahawks rookies and signed undrafted free agents reported to VMAC for day two of rookie minicamp.