RENTON — The battle for Seattle’s No. 3 receiver spot behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — or Lockett and Metcalf, if you prefer — won’t get fully engaged until rookie Dee Eskridge takes the field.
Eskridge, the team’s first pick in the 2021 draft at 56th overall, has yet to practice while dealing with a toe injury.
But coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks may be getting closer to seeing Eskridge in action.
“He and the equipment guys have figured out an equipment thing shoes-wise,’’ Carroll said, adding that Eskridge “ran really well’’ earlier in the day and that “he felt great about it. Didn’t feel a thing … so that’s a good, positive sign.’’
Still, he stopped short of offering a specific date for a return for Eskridge.
“He’s got to build up some days and conditioning and start to figure out where we can get him back out,’’ Carroll said.
The hope would likely be he could at least return in time to play in Seattle’s first preseason game against the Raiders in Las Vegas on Aug. 14 — or if not, preseason games two and three the following two weeks.
With Eskridge out, Freddie Swain and Penny Hart have generally worked as the other receivers in the starting offense.
Carroll has consistently praised both and on Wednesday said of Swain that “he can do everything, and he blocks well, he catches the ball well, he runs with the ball after the catch. He’s really smart, he plays multiple positions. He’s right in the mix of everything.’’
So is Hart, who has also had a good camp, picking up where he left off in the spring when Carroll called Hart the offensive standout of the offseason program.
So, Eskridge will have some catching up to do. But first is simply getting on the field, which sounds like it may happen sooner rather than later.
Here are other injury/personnel updates from Wednesday’s practice:
Cedric Ogbuehi, who has been sharing time at right tackle, departed practice early with a shoulder issue. Carroll said it’s not serious and the team was playing it cautious in holding him out. With Ogbuehi out, Brandon Shell took all of the snaps at right tackle with the starting unit. And with Duane Brown still sitting out and Ogbuehi out, Jamarco Jones and rookie Stone Forsythe split time at left tackle. Forsythe got the nod at LT in a final team session. Jones sat out Tuesday after tweaking his knee late in Monday’s practice.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner returned after missing the previous two days due to a family issue. But Wagner needed no time to ease back into things, working with the starting unit as usual throughout. “Fresh legs,’’ Carroll said.
Cody Barton, who worked as the starting MLB on Tuesday with Wagner out, sat out with a quad injury that Carroll said is just enough that “we need to hold him back for a couple of days.’’ With rookie Jon Rhattigan also out with a hamstring injury that could have him sidelined for another week or so, the Seahawks had fullback Nick Bellore — who has played linebacker previously — wearing a defensive jersey to add linebacker depth just in case.
Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who has been an early camp standout, is dealing with a groin injury. He left practice early to go get treatment. Carroll said.
Defensive tackle Al Woods got a rest day. Cornerback Damarious Randall sat out with a groin issue. Carroll said it’s not serious but the team was playing it cautious. Tight end Gerald Everett, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who each sat out Tuesday, were back in pads.
And as has been their custom through the first week of practice, both Brown and safety Jamal Adams sat out. Each walked onto the field midway through practice in their jerseys. Each is negotiating a new contract with the Seahawks.