Name: DeKaylin (D.K.) Metcalf
Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 6’4″ / 230
Class: Redshirt Sophomore
School: Ole Miss
Pros: What impresses me most about D.K. Metcalf is his hand usage. Metcalf consistently wins both at the line of scrimmage and downfield with exceptional hand usage. At the LOS, Metcalf is consistently able to shrug off press coverage as if it’s not even there, keeping himself clean and allowing him to gain early separation. Once downfield, Metcalf again exhibits great hands, catching nearly everything that comes his way. He’s superb at high-pointing the ball and coming down with it for his quarterbacks.
When Metcalf isn’t winning with his hand usage, he’s winning with great footwork. Metcalf has very good agility for someone his size, and frequently crosses up defensive backs allowing him a clean break. Once he’s free, Metcalf has great long speed and is a problem for opposing defenses from anywhere on the field.
An under-rated facet of Metcalf’s game, and one that I always look for when scouting wide receivers, is his ability to block. Metcalf is a willing blocker, and takes pride in his blocking ability. He has the long speed to get down the field and make blocks for his fellow wide receivers in the open field. More importantly, he’s a strong blocker at the line of scrimmage, in both the run game and the quick passing game. Metcalf uses his great lateral agility to get himself in good position, and has the hand strength to latch on to the defensive back. From there, it’s game over.
Cons: There are some significant injury concerns surrounding Metcalf. Burned his redshirt in his freshman season after breaking his foot in the second game. Missed most of his redshirt sophomore season with a significant neck injury that is likely to give some teams pause about drafting him. However, with the severity of his injury, I have to imagine Metcalf heard good things from the advisory committee regarding his status, or he would have returned to put the injury concerns aside.
Through little fault of his own, some teams are also going to question Metcalf’s route running ability. While at Mississippi, Metcalf was never really asked to run a full route tree. The majority of his route were comebacks, posts, and other vertical routes. However, between Metcalf’s exceptional hand usage and quick footwork, I’ve seen enough traits on tape to have little worry.
Outlook: All three of Ole Miss’ receivers have generated a lot of buzz this draft season, and rightfully so. Each of them should be drafted no later than the second round. People are going to talk a lot about A.J. Brown, and DaMarkus Lodge is going to shoot up draft boards, but Metcalf just might be the best of them. The injuries may scare some teams away, but with all the tools Metcalf has under his belt, he should make a great candidate for a team in the back half of the first round looking for their bonafide WR1 of the future.