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 Mel Kiper Jr.’s top ranked wide receiver, linebacker, defensive end, strong safety and tight end prospect in this year’s draft. pic.twitter.com/NLcob3O97D
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 11, 2019
“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:
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.
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