With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in the rearview mirror, we are beginning to see a lot of intriguing young talents rocketing up the mock drafts. Arguably the most eye-popping of all performers in this year’s combine was University of Mississippi receiver D.K. Metcalf. Metcalf, who is entering the NFL Draft following his redshirt sophomore season, posted the following results according to NFL.com’s combine tracker:
40-yard dash: 4.33 seconds (T-3rd among receivers)
Bench press: 27 reps (T-1st among receivers)
Vertical jump: 40.5 inches (T-3rd among receivers)
Broad jump: 134 inches (5th among receivers)
At 6’3” 228lb, Metcalf’s athletic performance is nothing short of phenomenal. To put it in perspective, NFL stars Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and A.J. Green all failed to outperform Metcalf in ANY of the four previously mentioned combine tests.
As it currently stands, the former Rebel is widely agreed to be a first-round selection barring a major injury before the NFL Draft. While many pre-combine mock drafts saw the 21-year-old going in the 10-20 range, a historical performance in Indianapolis has many scouts pinning Metcalf as a top-10 talent. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. said of Metcalf:
“He’s in the territory of Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson as far as athleticism…now his medical report from teams is going to be important—remember that he underwent neck surgery in October—so I want to hear more from people in the league. But Metcalf is in the top-10 discussion, and that’s where I had him in my most recent mock draft.”
Should he be available at Buffalo’s pick at number 9, the receiver-needy Bills have a big decision on their hands. Drafting receivers in the first round has been a notoriously risky endeavor over the past several seasons. In the last five years, we’ve seen first-round receivers like Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, Laquon Treadwell and John Ross have little to no impact with their respective teams. Of note, two of these picks (White and Ross) came within the top-10. But is it fair to link Metcalf into this group, especially following a near flawless combine performance?
The way Buffalo should see it, Metcalf has boom-or-bust status written all over him. It may not be the worst idea to take a chance on the Rebel being a real stud in Orchard Park—the team hasn’t possessed a Pro Bowl receiver since Eric Moulds in 2003. If the combine can attest to anything, Metcalf has generational athleticism and admirable preparation skills. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport received reports that Metcalf posted a body fat percentage of 1.6, which the Ole Miss receiver later corrected to be 1.9 (he’s humble, too.) Clearly, D.K. takes his testing very seriously. But as earlier mentioned by Kiper Jr., Metcalf has a significant injury history, one that allowed him to suit up in just 21 career NCAA games. According to CBS Sports, Metcalf recorded just 67 receptions in these 21 games.
As the April 25th NFL Draft nears closer, the Buffalo Bills will have more time to analyze Metcalf’s potential on the NFL level. Until the draft arrives, D.K. will be seen as a ‘high-risk, high-reward’ prospect, for obvious reasons. Drafting Metcalf will be based on two major factors: what position(s) the Bills address in free agency, and who else is available at the 9th overall pick. Should Buffalo go after a big-name offensive tackle in free agency, the Metcalf pick seems more likely. If the offensive line situation remains unresolved before the draft, it’s hard to see the Bills passing on options such as Jonah Williams, Jawaan Taylor, and Cody Ford (should they be available).
Bills fans have a lot to be excited about this spring. With a lot of money to spend, free agency should see a few key additions to an up-and-coming Buffalo unit. Weighing the odds for the 9th pick will become much easier as free agency breaks loose.
But if there’s one point to take away following the NFL combine: Bills Mafia should begin to wrap their head around the idea of DK Metcalf in Buffalo. It’s a major risk, but with a boatload of salary cap space to address other needs, it could be one worth taking.