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San Francisco 49ers

2019 NFL Draft: WR DK Metcalf’s combine workout benefits 49ers

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49ers, 2019 NFL Draft, Combine, DK Metcalf
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After his one-of-a-kind performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, wide receiver D.K. Metcalf rocketed up 2019 NFL Draft boards. However, the WR also demonstrated why he’s off the San Francisco 49ers’ draft radar.

When it comes to wide receivers, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has a type, and that type is not University of Mississippi wideout D.K. Metcalf.

Over the weekend, Metcalf put on a clinic at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, as the top prospect showed off his rare combination of size, strength and speed. As the weekend wore on, the wide receiver began to headline nearly every list of “combine winners,” with praises ranging from “athletic freak” to “superhuman.”

Perhaps Metcalf isn’t human. He looks more like a sculpture than a real person, and he certainly doesn’t look like a wide receiver capable of running a 4.33 40-yard dash:

D.K. Metcalf is a rare specimen, as noted by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks:

“The freakish athletic specimen lived up to the hype with a spectacular on-field performance Saturday. At 6-3 and 228 pounds, Metcalf ripped off a 4.33 40-yard dash, a 40.5-inch vertical leap and an 11-foot-2 broad jump” -Bucky Brooks

But D.K. Metcalf also has a huge problem, which is obvious from his game film — and now his combine numbers – but yet continues to be ignored. Metcalf can outrun cornerbacks and steamroll over linebackers, but the wide receiver is less agile than an average NFL quarterback.

The speedster’s three-cone and 20-yard-shuttle numbers pale in comparison to those of 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Even New England Patriots QB Tom Brady proved to be quicker than Metcalf, despite his famously poor combine performance. In fact, Metcalf showed less agility than every quarterback who participated in either of the two combine events — aside from Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur, who somehow managed to run for -326 yards over his college career.

Another interesting comp for the wide receiver is former 49ers defensive tackle Chris Jones, who topped Metcalf in both agility drills, despite weighing in at over 300 pounds and recording a 40-yard-dash time of 5.33, compared to Metcalf’s 4.33.

Shanahan values speed, but he loves short-area quickness. It’s no coincidence that during his tenure in San Francisco, the 49ers have yet to draft a player with a three-cone or 20-yard-shuttle time slower than Metcalf’s subpar combine numbers. Short-area quickness is particularly important to Shanahan at the wide receiver position, which is evident in the glaring disparity between the MockDraftable combine graphs for Metcalf and 49ers wideout Trent Taylor:

Metcalf’s stunning lack of agility should be enough to remove him from the No. 2 draft pick conversation. When you add in the wideout’s unfortunate injury history, Metcalf quickly becomes an extremely risky first-round selection, even with his blazing straight-line speed. In addition, Metcalf is an inexperienced receiver who doesn’t run a complete route tree — as noted by Locked on 49ers host Brian Peacock last month — and totaled a season’s worth of production over his entire college career:

WR D.K. Metcalf – College Statistics
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2016 Ole Miss SEC FR WR 2 2 13 6.5 2 0 0 0 2 13 6.5 2
2017 Ole Miss SEC FR WR 12 39 646 16.6 7 0 0 0 39 646 16.6 7
2018 Ole Miss SEC SO WR 7 26 569 21.9 5 0 0 0 26 569 21.9 5
Career Ole Miss 67 1228 18.3 14 0 0 0 67 1228 18.3 14

 

WR Trent Taylor – College Statistics
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2013 Louisiana Tech CUSA FR WR 10 28 260 9.3 2 0 0 0 28 260 9.3 2
*2014 Louisiana Tech CUSA SO WR 14 64 834 13.0 9 0 0 0 64 834 13.0 9
*2015 Louisiana Tech CUSA JR WR 13 99 1282 12.9 9 0 0 0 99 1282 12.9 9
*2016 Louisiana Tech CUSA SR WR 14 136 1803 13.3 12 0 0 0 136 1803 13.3 12
Career Louisiana Tech 327 4179 12.8 32 0 0 0 327 4179 12.8 32

 

Despite the many question marks surrounding Metcalf, it’s easy to picture how the athletic ability he showed off during the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine could translate into NFL success. However, the raw talent is a far cry from former wideout prospects Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson, despite the flurry of comparisons over the past two days.

Metcalf comes with a ton of risk, but the potential rewards are as massive as the wide receiver’s chiseled frame. While the 21-year-old would be a perfect second-round selection for an NFL team interested in a long-term project with extreme upside, given Metcalf’s combination of size and speed, he won’t last long in the green room during Day 1 of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The sudden Metcalf hype is a best-case scenario for the Niners, as the value of their second overall selection grows whenever a new “top talent” becomes a potential early draft pick. The San Francisco 49ers desperately need a top wide receiver, but given what we know about head coach Kyle Shanahan, wide receiver D.K. Metcalf isn’t on that list.

Chris Wilson is the Lead Writer for Locked on 49ers - part of the Locked On Podcast Network. You may have seen Chris Wilson’s work on NFL game theory, statistical analysis and film breakdowns at FanSided, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, ClutchPoints, Insidethe49 and others. Follow Chris Wilson on Twitter @cgawilson.

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San Francisco 49ers

PODCAST: Weekly Wink, Trade Rumors

Brian Peacock

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https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/lockedonnfl?selected=LKN1790036475
  • Guest: Nick Winkler
  • Jalen Ramsey trade rumors intensify
  • Is it worth spending on offensive tackle Trent Williams?
  • Could young star safety Jamal Adams hit the trade market?
  • 49ers primed for a 3-0 start

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San Francisco 49ers

PODCAST: 49ers-Steelers Crossover

Brian Peacock

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© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
  • Guests: Tony Serino and Christopher Carter of Locked On Steelers
  • What to expect from second-year QB Mason Rudolph, who is starting in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger
  • How new Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick fits in
  • Predictions

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San Francisco 49ers

49ers vs. Bengals: San Francisco Week 2 Game Balls & Highlights

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49ers Bengals Week 2 Game Balls Highlights
© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Game balls and highlights from the San Francisco 49ers’ 41-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2 of the 2019 NFL regular season.

On yesterday’s Locked On 49ers Podcast, host Brian Peacock provided a rundown of the Niners’ game — including game notes and key takeaways — and handed out four game balls to the San Francisco 49ers from their Week 2 blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 49ers made a statement to the rest of the league during their second consecutive road victory to start the 2019 NFL regular season. Outside of a long garbage-time touchdown given up in the final minute of the matchup, the 49ers’ defense was dominant, finishing the game with four sacks, nine tackles-for-loss and one interception.

But despite holding the Bengals to just 25 yards on 19 rushing attempts, San Francisco’s offensive unit shined the brightest in Week 2 — which brings us to our first game ball:

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan

San Francisco’s offensive attack was nearly unstoppable in Week 2, and much of their success should be credited to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who called one of his best games since arriving in the Bay Area over two seasons ago. The Niners tallied 572 net yards on offense at an 8.4 yards-per-play clip, and were forced to punt the ball just once during meaningful play, prior to the final two minutes of the game.

Shanahan — the 49ers’ de facto offensive coordinator — was always one step ahead of the Bengals’ defense, which was constantly confused by the Niners’ flurry of misdirection plays. With Cincinnati’s defenders forced to play both passively and reactionary, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took advantage by throwing for 297 passing yards and three scores. Garoppolo executed on the field, but he had Shanahan’s superb game plan to thank for his FexEx Air Passer of the Week nomination, as well as his 131.2 passer rating and his 11.9 yards-per-pass-attempt — both of which were tops in the NFL in Week 2.

 

49ers RB Matt Breida

Prior to the beginning of the regular season, many analysts wrote 49ers running back Matt Breida off as either a potential change-of-pace option in San Francisco’s backfield or a player who would simply ride the bench in 2019. But just two games into the season, Breida has officially put that talk to rest by claiming his well-deserved spot at the top of the 49ers’ running back depth chart, even after fellow RB Tevin Coleman eventually returns from injury.

Breida was electric on Sunday as he tallied 121 rushing yards on only 12 carries, and added 11 yards through the air on one reception. The former undrafted free agent may never be a 25-carry feature back, but it’s hard to ignore a runner who averages over 10 yards-per-touch. Breida’s outstanding Week 2 performance was  highlighted by a 34-yard gain on a third-and-short run, where he looked a lot more like Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders than a bench player who should be relegated to the sidelines:

 

49ers Offensive Line

Although Breida has the speed and agility necessary to break off long runs after making defenders miss, he surely didn’t mind running through some of the gaping holes the 49ers’ offensive line provided on Sunday. Breida wasn’t the only beneficiary of San Francisco’s big men up front, as the 49ers’ trio of running backs graded out as the NFL’s top unit of the week by Pro Football Focus (PFF). Recent practice-squad RB Jeff Wilson found the end zone for a pair of scores in the contest, and dual-threat running back Raheem Mostert followed his blockers on long runs and screen passes en route to a spot on PFF’s “NFL Team of the Week” for Week 2:

It was a near-perfect day for the Niners’ offensive line, as they also kept Garoppolo’s jersey clean for the vast majority of the game. But a dark cloud fell over the group in the third quarter of the team’s Week 2 victory, when left tackle Joe Staley sustained a fractured left fibula which will keep the 49ers’ top lineman out of action for approximately six to eight weeks.

 

49ers LB Kwon Alexander

Last week, linebacker Kwon Alexander received a game ball from Shanahan in the 49ers’ locker room after the team’s 31-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite his early exit from his Niners debut. Alexander was ejected from the contest when his helmet made contact with the helmet of former teammate Jameis Winston, when the quarterback awkwardly went to the ground at the end of a third-down scramble. In the limited time prior to his questionable ejection, Alexander looked like the player Shanahan and general manager John Lynch hoped to sign, as the 25-year-old linebacker flew around the field making plays and hyping up his teammates.

Last Sunday, Alexander earned his 49ers game ball for his leadership in the locker room and his passion for the game. This Sunday, Alexander earned Locked On 49ers game ball for his leadership in the locker room, his passion for the game and his production on the field. Alexander not only brought the same level of intensity to Cincinnati, but the linebacker was also one of the best — and most productive — players on the field in Week 2. With a key interception, three defended passes and six tackles, Alexander earned PFF “NFL Team of the Week” honors, and our final game ball of the week:

 

Listen to Locked On 49ers host Brian Peacock’s review of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 2 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals — including game notes and key takeaways from the Niners’ second matchup of the 2019 NFL regular season — on yesterday’s Rapid React podcast:

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