In this 2019 NFL Draft profile, we take a look at the strengths, weaknesses, and highlights of wide receiver D.K. Metcalf out of Ole Miss.
In a wide receiver class deep with prospects who project as solid No. 2 and 3 options at the next level, D.K. Metcalf stands out as a player with true No.1 receiver potential.
The Ole Miss product is the most talented and gifted receiver in this year’s class possessing the size and athleticism to be an elite target in the NFL. Despite being just 21-years-old, Metcalf was viewed as the number one receiver in the 2019 draft class before suffering a season-ending neck injury that forced him to play in just seven games in 2018.
Still, Metcalf opted to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft and recent reports have the talented redshirt sophomore officially cleared for all football activity following his October neck surgery. With the Ole Miss receiver set to enter the draft, let’s take a look at his strengths and weaknesses and what defines him as a player.
There is no receiver in this class who possesses the combination of size and athleticism that Metcalf does. He’s gifted with a rare blend of quickness and physicality that could allow him to develop into an elite player at the next level.
Metcalf stands at 6’3″ and weighs in at 225 pounds meaning he has the size to tower over opposing defensive backs. He uses that size to high-point the ball in the air and make highlight real catches in traffic. His can use his large frame to box out cornerbacks while using his long arms to sky over defenders.
Not only does Metcalf possess the size and length to be great, but his quickness and athleticism for a man of his size are truly remarkable. The Ole Miss receiver possesses an elite first step using his hands and quick feet to get a good release off the line.
He is equally as impressive of a vertical threat as he is a quick, underneath target making him as complete of a prospect at receiver as you’ll see in this year’s class.
There is no glaring weakness to Metcalf’s game but there a few things he could improve upon on top of a few potential red flags.
Metcalf’s route running isn’t as polished as some of the others in this class and he needs to do a better job of not rounding out his routes. Too often he finds himself relying on his athleticism to run the routes for him which worked a ton in college but likely won’t be as effective in the NFL.
However, the neck injury remains a major red flag. If Metcalf tests well at the NFL Combine and shows no signs of rust following the injury, then there’s a good chance that he could go in the first round.
Others point to his youth and inexperience as potential drawbacks. Metcalf recorded 67 catches in just 21 career games at Ole Miss meaning he’s still a bit raw as a prospect. Mississippi also didn’t ask him to run a very difficult route tree which could hinder his progress in the pros.
NEW YORK JETS PREDICTION
Metcalf would be an incredible fit with a New York Jets team that lacks a true No. 1 receiver. The Jets have two solid options in Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson but neither stands out as a top receiving option.
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A receiving trio with Metcalf, Anderson, and Enunwa would have the potential to be one of the best in the league and give quarterback Sam Darnold a great foundation of talent to work with. His addition could completely shift the dynamic of the offense and add much-needed depth to the receiving room.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way for the team to currently acquire him. It’s unlikely that Metcalf goes in the top 15 picks, meaning that even if the Jets were to trade back, they likely still wouldn’t be in his range unless they were to trade back very far.
Their best chance may be to trade with a team like the Oakland Raiders who may look to package one of their later first round picks to move up for a quarterback or elite prospect.