Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf grabbed headlines when photos of his superhuman physique surfaced, and again when he posted a 4.33-second 40-yard-dash time at the NFL scouting combine. But his grasp on top-10 status in the draft has so far proven tenuous.
Recent mock drafts have the redshirt sophomore going as high as No. 7 overall, to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and as low as No. 27, to the Oakland Raiders. He could be the first receiver off the board, but at what pick?
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, who has the No. 22 overall pick and a need for improved play at wide receiver, acknowledged Tuesday that the team is looking at Metcalf — along with “200 other prospects in this draft.”
“He's big and fast,” DeCosta said at the team’s predraft news conference. “He's caught a lot of touchdowns. He's caught a lot of big plays. … We'll assess D.K. versus the field. How does he stack up versus these other guys at all the other positions? And we'll have a decision on draft day when we're on the pick.”
Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said Metcalf’s size, physicality and vertical speed are reminiscent of Demaryius Thomas’. The two-time All-Pro selection and No. 22 overall selection in 2010 has over 9,000 receiving yards in his career and had five straight 1,000-plus-yard seasons for the Denver Broncos from 2012 to 2016.
DeCosta said Metcalf, who averaged nearly 22 yards per catch in seven games last year before suffering a season-ending neck injury, has shades of Terrell Owens’ open-field ability.
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Metcalf is regarded as the top receiver prospect in the draft, but he has competition. Rebels teammate A.J. Brown, Oklahoma's Marquise Brown, Iowa State's Hakeem Butler, Arizona State's N'Keal Harry, North Carolina State's Kelvin Harmon and Ohio State's Parris Campbell all have been linked to teams in the first round.
“You've got guys that fit the ideal slot role and then you've got the vertical, outside threats,” Hortiz said of the class. “Really, again, it comes down to what type of playmakers are out there, their mindset, their makeup, football character, like we've all mentioned up here. And I think there's a lot of wideouts in this group, this year's class, that have the things you're looking for.”