Despite a neck injury that ended his season, redshirt sophomore D.K. Metcalf will declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Early on in the 2018 season, many draft analysts penciled in D.K. Metcalf as one of the top receivers who would potentially be in the 2019 NFL Draft.
After a strong start to his season, Metcalf suffered a neck injury. The injury wasn’t reported to be career-threatening, but it did put his 2018 season to an end. It was unclear whether or not he would declare for the draft or return to school, but Metcalf tweeted that he would be forgoing two more years of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft.
This declaration, which comes as a bit of a shock, shakes up the wide receiver class. Before the news broke, the consensus among analysts was that this wide receiver class was solid, and had a ton of different types to fit many team needs. The one knock on the class was the lack of a superstar talent, but all of that may change with Metcalf declaring.
At 6’3″ and 225 pounds, Metcalf already passes the test when it comes to size. He has the stature to be the ‘X’ receiver in an offense. As expected for a receiver of that stature, he is excellent at the catch point and can be a red zone threat from day one with strong hands and the ability to win above the rim.
He can also be a deep threat to an offense thanks to an excellent release at the line of scrimmage. A wicked release is a big weapon in today’s NFL, which is built on winning against a defensive back quickly to help the quarterback get the ball out quicker. Metcalf moves so smooth laterally to get quick separation.
Like all draft prospects, there are things Metcalf can work on. If he works on the finer points of route running and improving his route tree, teams will swoon at that combined with the athletic ability.
The big hurdle to clear for Metcalf will be a the combine. At that point in the process, teams will find out how he is doing medically and if he is progressing well. He doesn’t necessarily have to be doing all of the drills in Indy, or any for that matter, but ensuring teams that his neck issue doesn’t have long term implications will go a long way.
For now, receiver-needy teams should be excited that a big time player has decided to declare for the draft.