Seahawks receiver Dee Eskridge just got very valuable due to NFL rule change

The NFL has approved several rule changes this offseason.

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Seattle Seahawks fans have a right to be divisive about receiver Dee Eskridge. The 2021 second-round pick - in a year when Seattle only had three choices - has been a bust. He was expected, one assumes, to become a good third option at receiver for the team. Instead, Eskridge has been oft-injured or ineffective.

That is except for flashing the potential to be very good in one aspect: Kickoff returns. To be fair, in 2022 after Eskridge had not done much else, Seattle's coaches might have just thrown Eskridge out to return a kick because the team was out of options. The same might have been true in 2023 as well at first, but then Eskridge started to be really good at returning kickoffs.

In Week 12 against the San Francisco 49ers, Eskridge ran one kickoff back for nearly 40 yards and another for 66 yards. But then, of course, Week 12 would be the last time Eskridge played in 2023 because he was injured once again. He has been the offensive equivalent to Jamal Adams; both players have potential but get hurt too much to produce much.

Seattle Seahawks might benefit in 2024 from Dee Eskridge's one special skill

The NFL, however, has revamped its kickoff rules beginning in 2024. Now, a team's kicker will kickoff from their own 35-yard line, as normal, but the rest of the kicking team will start at the opponent's 40-yard line. The receiving team will have a minimum of nine players lined up in the "setup zone" (between the 30-35-yard lines) and a maximum of two players in the "landing zone" (inside the 20-yard line). The key to all of that is that the kicking team's players cannot move until either the ball bounces or a returner touches the ball.

This means teams could have a decent chance of breaking off a good kick return or two. While the kicking team is still relatively close to the return team, the returner will at least have a head-start running the ball back and once through a hole could see more open space than before. This is where Eskridge comes in.

The team decided to bring him back for 2024 this offseason which surprised many fans because Eskridge has gotten paid to be hurt or not good for the most part. Now, he has a real chance to help the team and make a big impact with his return skills. That is if he can stay healthy.

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