Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf stole the show this week at the NFL Combine. Could his meteoric rise lead him to be drafted by the New York Jets?
Every year there always seems to be at least one prospect who shows up at the NFL Combine and manages to improve their draft stock dramatically. Whether it’s with the confirmation of previously expected athletic traits or a showcase of athleticism that may have previously been doubted.
This year that prospect was wide receiver D.K. Metcalf.
The Ole Miss product was already considered to be one of the top receivers in the draft heading into Indianapolis but he came with a few question marks that needed to be answered. Perhaps the most important question was how he would test following his season-ending neck injury suffered in October that wound up requiring surgery.
Metcalf was electric at Ole Miss with his combination of size and speed being among the best in the all of college football. But during his rehab, Metcalf had appeared to put on some extra pounds of muscle leading scouts to wonder if the explosiveness that he showed in college would still be there.
But any doubts and concerns about his athleticism were put to bed after an outstanding performance at this year’s combine. Metcalf put up 27 reps on the bench press, tied for the most by any wide receiver since 2003, and had a 40.5-inch vertical jump.
However, it was his 40-yard dash time that blew people away. Metcalf ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds which ranked third among receivers that tested.
Yes, 4.33. At 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds nonetheless.
While combine numbers are typically nothing to get too worked up over, Metcalf’s numbers tell a special story. Not only did Metcalf put on significantly more weight in muscle, but he was able to maintain his explosiveness.
He might have even gotten faster.
While some will still point to his youth and inexperience at the collegiate level, it’s clear that Metcalf is a special talent. Although he didn’t run the most complete route tree at Ole Miss and didn’t post quite the numbers you would hope for, the talent is obviously there and with his work ethic, he should have no trouble becoming an elite player in the NFL.
Which bears the question, where will he be drafted now?
Before the combine, Metcalf was fighting for the WR1 spot and was considered maybe a mid-to-late first rounder. Now, it would be surprising if he dropped out of the top 10.
The New York Jets are currently sitting pretty with the No. 3 overall pick. While there are a ton of different directions they could go with that pick, which includes trading down, or even up in some unlikely scenarios, Metcalf’s performance at the combine could push them to go in a completely different direction than expected.
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With an obvious need at receiver, Metcalf could be a very intriguing option if the Jets were to trade back to the sixth or seventh pick where the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars select. Both teams will be in the market for a quarterback come late April and could make for ideal trading partners.
The Jets have a duo of solid receivers with Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa but neither is a true number one target. Metcalf would give the Jets a player who has the potential to not only develop into that number one receiver they’ve been looking for, but could even become one of the best receivers in the league.
He may need some molding and refinement to reach his ceiling, but it’s hard to bet against his talent. Metcalf’s workouts are supposedly legendary as his work ethic is unmatched by most. He worked incredibly hard to get back to this point after his injury and I wouldn’t bet on him slowing down once he reaches the pros.
But there’s still one question left. What if he isn’t there with the No. 6 or 7 pick?
Metcalf is an incredible talent and his meteoric rise could lead to him even being drafted inside the top 5. The Oakland Raiders pick fourth and are in search of a top-tier wideout after trading away Amari Cooper and Metcalf could be the perfect Cooper replacement.
So with that, might the Jets consider taking him with the third overall pick? It seems farfetched and a bit knee-jerky but it may just be the best approach depending on how the board falls.
If Nick Bosa if off the board, which he almost certainly will be, there is no obvious pick if the Jets stay put at three. Quinnen Williams is an elite prospect but he doesn’t exactly fill a position of need. Josh Allen is a high-ceiling edge rusher but isn’t the can’t-miss prospect many have made him out to be. There isn’t exactly an offensive lineman worthy of being taken at that spot.
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Perhaps Metcalf could be an actual option for the Jets with the third pick. If the goal is to actually build an offense around quarterback Sam Darnold, then what better way to do so then by acquiring a receiver prospect with elite potential.
Of course, this would be contingent on the Jets signing a quality offensive lineman or two in free agency and at least one starting-caliber edge rusher. But as we sit here at the beginning of March before free agency, this should absolutely be considered a legitimate option.
Again, this isn’t an overreaction to combine numbers.
This is a player coming out and showing that he not only is the same incredible athletic freak that he was in college, but he’s perhaps even freakier.
Metcalf’s combine performance may have been his coming out party for many who don’t necessarily follow the NFL draft. But many, myself included, were already aware of his special talent before Indianapolis.
The combine just confirmed it.
Whether it’s a trade down or simply staying put and making the bold pick at three, Metcalf is a player that the Jets should absolutely consider taking come April.