Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf received top-five buzz after he put on a brilliant display at the NFL Combine, including a 4.33 40-yard dash, a 40.5″ vertical jump, and 27 bench press reps at 6’3″ 228lbs.
But skill and injury concerns coupled with a lack of college production dropped Metcalf’s stock significantly, and the Seattle Seahawks were able to nab him with the final pick of the second round. Here are three predictions for the physical freak’s rookie season.
3. He plays in Week 1
Metcalf had knee surgery after the second preseason game. This might sound pretty serious at first, but it was a minor procedure, and Metcalf has been rehabbing well, with the goal of playing against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The nature of the injury is still unclear; the team classified it as a “sore knee”, but that could mean any number of things. Metcalf also suffered foot and neck injuries in college, so his durability is a concern, although it’s good that this new injury isn’t a repeat of a previous one.
It may have been minor, but going from knee surgery to game action in three weeks (give or take a few days) would be impressive, to say the least. Metcalf certainly has the genes and work ethic to pull it off.
2. He starts more than eight games
Had the receiving corps been at full strength, Metcalf would likely have been the team’s fourth pass catcher on the depth chart. But David Moore still doesn’t have a timetable for return from a shoulder injury, and Jaron Brown was cut to create enough cap space to allow the Jadeveon Clowney trade to be processed.
Metcalf could be the #2 WR behind Tyler Lockett for a large portion of the season, and if he performs well enough, could hold onto the spot even after Moore comes back.
1. He catches more than six touchdowns
Metcalf’s athletic testing was off the charts in some areas and very poor in others. His shuttle and 3-Cone times, which measure agility, were slower than Tom Brady’s. This caused many to write off Metcalf as a top receiving prospect, comparing him to recent athletic busts like Stephen Hill.
But those subpar numbers matter only if a team was going to use him like a slot receiver or someone like Antonio Brown. Metcalf is never going to be a great route runner, but he doesn’t need to be.
Watching his college tape, he was able to run streaks, digs, and slants well. With his combination of size, speed, and strength, that’s really all he has to do. He isn’t going to beat defensive backs with finesse, he’s going to outrun them or outfight them.
Metcalf thrives on the deep ball, and quarterback Russell Wilson just so happens to be one of, if not the most accurate deep passer in the NFL.
Metcalf finds himself in a great situation, and six TDs should be easy to get. Seattle may be a rushing offense for the most part, but Metcalf gives the team a dynamic they haven’t had since a healthy Sidney Rice.