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George Kritikos
Buy the Numbers: DK Metcalf

George Kritikos dives deep into the numbers to assess the NFL prospects of DK Metcalf

Mar 28th

To call Metcalf a prototype wide receiver isn’t fair because there have been so few who measure up to him physically. His height, weight, arm length, and hand size are all above the 80th percentile and resemble more superhero than NFL wide receiver. Unfortunately, a neck injury deprived us of a full 2018 college season (missed half the season), leading to pedestrian counting stats. That said, he still managed nearly 30% of the team’s receiving touchdowns and 23% of the receiving yards in the games he did play. He could have been a 1000 yard receiver if that held up.

He will run past you, jump over you, and outmuscle you to the ball. He was 93rd percentile or better in 4 of the 6 drills. Unfortunately, all that muscle limits his agility as he was 2nd and 3rd percentile in those drills. That deep speed showed up in his big play rate (35%) and those giant mitts showed up in his catch rate (65%), which is unique for a player who was targeted deep as often as he was. Vertical threats like Metcalf tend to see smaller target shares but have a disproportion in production due to big plays and higher touchdown rates.

That AIR Score (Adjusted Improvement Ratio) shows that he did more with his targets than his teammates, a good sign considering the talent at Ole Miss. The TD and YPR differentials further show how much more of a big play threat he is than Brown or Lodge. That Yards per Target figure was 4th among 54 receivers I charted for this draft. While Metcalf only had 1 game over 25% target share, he still managed 3 games with production over 25% share.

As I would suspect from a big play threat like Metcalf, his red zone stats were minimal and low efficiency. It’s hard to take much out of six targets inside the 20, but it’s clear that Metcalf’s role was not as a primary option in the RZ. The physical profile of Metcalf has people salivating with the “What If?” questions. He uses that body and strength along with the long speed to win down the field. But injuries have limited his experience and has some technique to clean up including concentration drops.

Metcalf profiles as my 1.04 and is likely an NFL first round draft pick. He is limited as a player, for now, but the upside and draft capital invested makes it hard to drop him any lower in a weak draft class.

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George Kritikos
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