Since it is draft week, it is time to turn up the production of our draft prospect breakdowns. Earlier today we added the fifth piece to our series with Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Now, we will add a player who may not necessarily be a top target in a year when the Miami Dolphins are looking to address the foundation of the franchise, but could solve a problem at a position group that has everything but a true number one.
Our sixth prospect is Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. The Dolphins have several key contributors at the position, with Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Brice Butler, and Isaiah Ford all returning from 2018 and Ricardo Louis and Reece Horn joining the team this offseason, so would Metcalf be the right selection for Miami with the 13th overall pick?
D.K. Metcalf bio
Age: 21 (December 14, 1997)
Born: Oxford, MS
High School: Oxford High School, Oxford, MS
College: Ole Miss
As a freshman in 2016, Metcalf appeared in two games with two receptions for 13 yards and two touchdowns before a foot injury sidelined him for the year, effectively forcing him into a redshirt season. In 2017 and 2019, he appeared in 19 games, with his 2018 campaign shortened by a neck injury after just seven contests. He caught 67 passes his in career for 1,228 yards with 14 touchdowns. Metcalf’s father, Terrence, played guard for the Chicago Bears from 2002 to 2008.
D.K. Metcalf measurables
Weight: 228 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.33
Bench press: 27
Vertical jump: 40.5
Broad jump: 134.0
3-cone drill: 7.38
20-yard shuttle: 4.5
The picture that caught everyone’s attention
Back in February, a picture of Metcalf nearly broke...everything. Before he even put up his 4.33 40 time, this picture had people talking. Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown, on the right in the picture, is 6-foot, 226 lbs., and ran a 4.49. That would Metcalf on the left.
What they are saying
Stephen White, SB Nation - One thing I think we can all agree on is that D.K. Metcalf is a physical specimen! This kid stands at 6’3, weighs almost 230 pounds, and just blazed a 4.33 40 at the NFL Combine. In a show of ridiculous explosion for a man his size, Metcalf went over 40 inches in his vertical leap. Oh, and not only did he show he was athletic, Metcalf also showed he packs a punch too, after lifting 225 pounds 27 times.I didn’t actually watch his Ole Miss film till after he was done working out at the combine, so I was looking forward to seeing if those numbers translated to his on-field play last season. Well, there were several occasions when Metcalf was able to showcase his outstanding straight-line speed. He’s definitely fast fast, and not some track guy trying to pass himself off as a football player.
The crazy thing is Metcalf showed pretty good run-after-catch skills, so it’s not like they had to throw him deep balls all the time. Hell I, for one, would have loved to have seen Metcalf catch a few more short passes just to watch smaller secondary guys try to come up and tackle him. At any rate, even with a small question mark about his hands, I still believe Metcalf is worthy of a first-round pick because of the prodigious potential he brings to the table. They don’t grow big, tall wide receivers who can run 4.3s on trees. I don’t think he has come close to maximizing his physical gifts so far, and just thinking about what Metcalf could develop into on the next level is scary.
Pete Rogers, Fake Teams - D.K. Metcalf is easily the most polarizing receiver in this year’s draft and it’s not hard to see why. At 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds, the dude is built like a linebacker. I don’t need to reference his Hulk workout picture since by this point I’m sure you’ve seen it so many times that you can’t hear the name “D.K. Metcalf” without the image instantly popping into your head. The dude is yoked. Add to that a blazing 4.33 40-yard-dash and a 40.5 inch vertical and you’re talking about one of the most physically gifted receivers since Calvin Johnson set the combine on fire and burned the ashes. Obviously the receiver position is more than just running fast in a straight line, despite what DeSean Jackson might say. Metcalf does a great job using his frame and speed to create late catch separation from his defender, but has a tendency to lose focus and is prone to mental drops. He’s by no means a polished route runner and still has plenty of development before he’ll be considered a top receiver in the league. Still, he has a ton of potential to work with and in the right system, Metcalf could quickly develop into one of the premier deep threats in the game. I wouldn’t expect him to be a monster his rookie year, but don’t be surprised if in three years we’re talking about him as one of the top 10 receivers in the league.
Robert Ban, Revenge of the Birds - Overall, Metcalf is a rare prospect with elite size and speed. As long as health doesn’t hold him back, potential to be a dominant outside WR1 in need of some technical refinement. He provides a great fit as a true, prototype WR1. Comparison: Josh Gordon (Ceiling), I don’t feel great about this comp, but I give (a bigger) Kevin White as a floor (more like basement) comp.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com - Big, explosive talent with projectable upside to become a home-run threat as a WR1. Teams seek out pass-catchers with rare height, weight and speed dimensions and Metcalf has those for days. While he has the talent to become a full-field threat, Metcalf is still an unpolished gem who was the second-best receiver on his college team. Until his skill-set is more developed, he could begin his career as a hit-or-miss long-ball threat. However, once it clicks, defenses could struggle to find solutions for him. Comparison: Josh Gordon.
Joe Marino, The Draft Network - DK Metcalf brings a rare physical skill set and has showcased dynamic playmaking skills in the SEC although more experience would be preferred. There is consistency needed as a finisher but it’s a minor tradeoff for the upside he presents in the passing game. His traits are worthy of a high selection despite some rawness to his game. Metcalf is a universal scheme fit that has immense playmaking ability to every level of the field. By year three, Metcalf has the upside to become one of the premiere receivers in the NFL.
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - D.K. Metcalf is a monster. That’s the first thought that comes to mind when you see him. But Metcalf is more than just a muscled-up football player. He’s a legit wide receiver, arguably the best in this draft class, who is long on potential and in need of some refinement. But in the right system he can flourish -- he’s drawn comparisons to Josh Gordon and Terrell Owens. Strengths: Huge downfield target with an enormous catch radius. Metcalf eats up cushion against cornerbacks and despite poor shuttle and 3-cone drills at the combine, he routinely shows the ability to put the foot in the ground and get and out of breaks. He’s good at creating separation with shoulder fakes and blazing speed (see that 4.33 40). He also displays soft hands when hauling in long arcing throws, can high-point the ball on fade routes and has strong hands to fight off physical cornerbacks for the ball. Weaknesses: We mentioned the drops above -- are those concentration-related or indicative of a bigger issue? Metcalf also has struggled with injuries -- he played in just two games in 2016 and seven last season. Then there are the poor 3-cone and shuttle times at the combine. But here’s the thing: If you watch him play, it’s clear he can get off press coverage and in and out of his breaks. Comparison: Demaryius Thomas
PFF Analysis Team, Pro Football Focus - Built by physicality and freak athleticism, Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf comes into the draft as PFF’s top receiver and 17th overall player on PFF’s draft board. Despite a 71.9 overall grade this past season, his ability to explode off the line of scrimmage and overpower coverage defenders makes him a high-risk, high-reward prospect in this draft. When Metcalf was on the field for Ole Miss, he was used solely out wide. He had only four total snaps in the slot. His lack of versatility could hinder his success at the next level. With his speed and athleticism, Metcalf has the potential to be an effective receiver in the NFL but an uncertain future due to his unproven past.
Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Metcalf is a physical freak and playmaker. He possesses the physicality, strength, vertical ability and athleticism to consistently win. He is a long, powerful strider that eats up big chunks of yardage. Metcalf runs through physical coverage and can simply out-muscle defenders. He has tremendous hands and is efficient at high-pointing the ball. He will dominate in the red zone due to length and size. There are some raw aspects to his game, as he gets knocked for lack of route polish and finishing plays in the air. But he exhibits a rare skillset and some NFL team will fall in love, especially if the medicals at the Combine check out. Metcalf’s rare physical traits combined with his movement skills and his ability after the catch makes him scheme diverse and will solidify him as one of the first wide receivers off the board.
Charlie Campbell, Walter Football - The things that really set Metcalf apart are mismatch size and speed. He has excellent height and strength to be a size problem on the perimeter. That size makes him tough to tackle and a threat to make any reception as he can win 50-50 passes over defensive backs. He is a red zone-weapon who could be a point producer as a pro. Metcalf also has freakish straight-line speed, and that was illustrated at the NFL Scouting Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds. Off the line of scrimmage, Metcalf is very fast at running straight go routes down the field, and he can burn defensive backs by just running by them. He is a threat to score on any reception as once he has the ball in his hands because he can run away from the defense. Metcalf tracks the ball very well, using late hands to make receptions. He shows nice concentration and ability to make one-handed catches. While Metcalf has a great skill set, he is not necessarily a polished wide receiver. His route-running needs to be developed because he did not run the route tree at Ole Miss. Because Metcalf is so muscle bound, he is not that agile in and out of breaks. That, along with his short-area quickness, could be problematic for him generating separation in the NFL. Comparison: Alshon Jeffery.
Video breakdowns and film
I can’t believe this need clarifying again. But for those who question D.K. Metcalf’s ability to beat press coverage because of his poor short shuttle time, pay attention to the outside left WR on all of these plays.— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) March 3, 2019
He’s a dominant force through the contact window: pic.twitter.com/pVdTMH4lcK
D.K. Metcalf running the gauntlet yesterday at the combinepic.twitter.com/VsGwN34MTm— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 3, 2019
Should Dolphins be interested?
I do not think this is the year Miami will be focusing on “skill” players, especially with a group like Stills, Parker, Wilson, and Grant already manning the position. That said, if the Dolphins were to go get Metcalf, it cannot be argued that he would be a piece they need for the future. Parker has never established himself as the top receiver as the Dolphins would have hoped, so Metcalf could come in and fill that role immediately. He would not be the expected pick, but he would fill a hole, even if it does not seem like there is an immediate need there. Miami may be able to address the wide receiver position later, or even next year if Parker cannot claim the role finally, so this does not seem like a high-probability pick, but he should at least be on the board as a possibility.
Plus, it might be really awesome to have Metcalf and Grant on the same team, on the same field, at the same time. Can you imagine that group picture?
How would you grade the Dolphins pick of D.K. Metcalf?
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