This past weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine, we were reminded just how physically gifted NFL prospects are. With standout performances such as 300 pound defensive tackle Quinnen Williams running a 4.83 40 yard dash and Montez Sweats “top performance” label from NFL.com in every major category tested, NFL fans have gotten a treat of a combine. However, the talk of the town has been Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf.
The 6 foot 5, 237 lb freak athlete has been making headlines since a photo emerged a few weeks before the combine that was eerily similar to the Shawn Oakman picture that greatly boosted his hype. Don’t worry, the memes have been non-stop and I have enjoyed every second of them. With his Herculean physique, it’s safe to say that he passes the eye test.
If you look at about half of his combine stats you would think he’d be a lock for a top-ten pick. He ran a blazing 4.39 40 yard dash and powered through 27 reps of 225 on the bench press- it’s not every day you see a receiver who possesses that kind of speed and strength.
He honestly reminds me of Vernon Davis, even though they play different positions, because of their large muscular frame but lightning quick speed. Unfortunately for Metcalf, raw strength and straight line speed are not the only things they test for at the combine. He recorded times of 7.38 in the 3-cone drill and 4.5 seconds in the shuttle drill. Tom Brady recorded better times than that.
What is so concerning about those times is that these are drills that focus on agility and cutting ability which are absolutely crucial skills for a receiver. It doesn’t matter how big and fast you are if all you’re good for is running fade routes down field (I’m looking at you Josh Doctson). A receiver needs an arsenal of routes and Metcalf hasn’t proved a dynamic enough skill set to prove that he’s ready for NFL action.
If you watch his college highlights, while they are impressive, almost every play is the same. He runs straight down the field and either outruns or out jumps his defender. That might work in college, but not in the NFL.
There is a lot of hype surrounding Metcalf right now. It looks like he has gotten himself into tip-top shape and is ready to make moves in the NFL. However, I don’t think we should be ready to anoint this guy as the next big thing because of an Instagram picture and a solid 40 time.
As an SEC football fan, I’d love to see him pan out. It would be a shame to see another ultra-athletic first-round pick burn out after a just a few seasons.