Article by: Kevin Eagleson
The NFL scouting combine is a great opportunity for prospects to show off their skills, raise their draft stock, and attract more potential teams. Now that the combine has concluded and over 300 players have completed their audition, teams may have a better idea about who they want to draft and where. Besides medical checks and team interviews, the prospects have done about everything they can to display their talent.
Every year, there are a few players that put on such an impressive performance that they stand out amongst the hundreds of other players. Last year, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, was arguably the standout player of the combine (4.4 sec 40, 29 bench reps, 41” vert). His combine boosted his draft stock and locked him in as a top 3 selection, which is relatively rare for a running back.
This year, the world witnessed a performance just as impressive as Barkley’s last year. Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf put together one of the more impressive combines in recent memory. The hype around Metcalf initiated when the 21-year-old revealed he has just 1.6% body fat. This fat content seems almost impossible for a human, but photographs of the receiver prove his insane build. At the combine, Metcalf ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, put up 27 bench press reps, and added a 40.5” vertical leap, all while measuring in at 6-3, 228 pounds. The future first-rounder had less success with the agility tests with a 7.38 three-cone drill, and a 4.50 short shuttle time. Despite those two less impressive times, D.K. Metcalf has certainly solidified himself as the top receiver in the draft class with his straight-line athleticism and raw talent. Now the final question is: how high will the Ole Miss receiver be drafted?
Last year, D.J. Moore was the first receiver taken off the board at round 1, pick 24, by the Carolina Panthers. The last time a receiver was selected top-10 overall was during the 2017 NFL draft, where three receivers were selected. First, the Titans selected Corey Davis at 5th, Mike Williams went 7th to the Chargers, and finally John Ross went 9th to the Bengals. Ross is probably the most interesting selection, as his draft stock was significantly raised by his record 40-yard dash time at the combine. Ross was not being talked about as a top receiver prospect until after the combine, which proves how influential the combine can be. However, Metcalf and Ross could not be more different receivers, and Metcalf is probably most similar in body and play type to Mike Williams.
D.K. Metcalf has proved himself worthy of a top-10 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, and it is more than likely that is where he will be selected. Although there is ample talent in this year’s draft, a receiver-needy team will more than likely take the Ole Miss prospect in top 10. It is even possible Metcalf goes top-5 to the Buccaneers, who have the 5th overall, pick. However, it looks like Tampa Bay will most likely look to add to their defense instead. More than likely, he will be taken somewhere between 7th and 10th overall. The teams selecting 7-10, in order, are the Jaguars, Lions, Bills, and Broncos, who could all benefit from a talented, big-bodied wide out. The best fit is seemingly the Bills at 9, who need another receiver, and Metcalf’s talents would pair perfectly with Josh Allen’s big arm. Of course, it is extremely difficult to predict the NFL draft, as picks will undoubtedly be traded, and teams will reposition. It is not out of the range of possibility to imagine a team attempting to trade up for Metcalf’s talents.
What is almost certain is that D.K. Metcalf will go top 10. The Bills look like the best fit now, but until draft day, anything is possible. Metcalf is another example of how a player can take advantage of the NFL combine, and add value to their draft stock. in just a few short days.
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