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DK Metcalf continues to not look like a rookie

NFL: OCT 13 Seahawks at Browns Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

DK Metcalf isn’t like other Pete Carroll receivers. Carroll has attempted to find a “DK Metcalf” many times over through his 10 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, but it turns out there’s only one DK Metcalf.

The former Ole Miss standout towers over the traditionally-undersized Seahawks receiving corps at 6’3”, 229 lbs. His 4.33 40-yard time, 27 bench presses, and 40.5” vertical set him apart from most college players coming out of the NFL combine so much so that people who had never said the words “route tree” were now saying “route tree” for the first time. They needed something to ground themselves from measurables like those.

However, Metcalf has put himself in a category that Seattle fans are not used to seeing this soon, if ever. He has been an immediately impressive and highly effective rookie offensive player unlike anything Carroll’s seen from a receiver since Doug Baldwin.

Metcalf is well on his way to hushing his detractors and all the frequent complaints against him are quickly evaporating. Let’s go through those complaints and re-evaluate after six games.

Theory 1: Metcalf is so lean the NFL will kill him

There will always be an element of this that remains to be seen. However, even with some knee issues this preseason DK has played over 60% of offensive snaps in every game so far this season. He’s also trying to hurt people, which is dangerous for people.

Metcalf has shown no lingering effects from his preseason knee surgery. He hasn’t missed a game. He’s not afraid of contact. He’s never come up slow after a hit. At this point the biggest concern here is that DK will run so fast he leaves part of his Achilles behind him.

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Theory 2: You can’t just run fast in a straight line in the NFL

Though the scouting profile believed Metcalf would take on an expanded route tree with ease, the fear round the world was that Metcalf was nothing more than a deep threat.

There’s two different ways to refute this. The first is simple. I wholeheartedly disagree, and always have, with the notion that go routes don’t work - especially if Russell Wilson is the one saying “go”.

Besides, if you can run this fast of a straight line, and Russ can throw that nice of a deep ball, I’m not sure most defensive backs can hang:

Metcalf now has two TDs this season, and they’re both the NFL equivalent of “go long” that your Uncle Jeff tries every year at Thanksgiving:

Longtime fans of Seattle will undoubtedly recognize the similarity to the days when Russ didn’t know how fast Tyler Lockett was, either. Fully expect that someday soon DK won’t have to wait around and wave at the defenders before the ball comes in for a landing.

The second problem with the Meaningless Metcalf Mentality is that he (1) always has been able to do more than try to get to the endzone as fast as possible. DK himself has maintained all year that he’s run every route in practice, we just didn’t see it on TV.

So far, it’s proved true. And Seattle is doing their darndest to get him the ball as often as they can, including a sweep run play on Sunday.

He’s been, while maybe not all over the field, making plays wherever the team sends him.

Theory 3: Rookie wide receivers take a long time to do stuff

With this thought, I actually agree. Especially up at Century Link. Seahawk rookie receivers don’t often do very much.

Tyler Lockett was effective at 664 yards and 6 TD
Paul Richardson - 271 yards, one TD
Amara Darboh - the worst
Doug Baldwin - 788 yards, 4 TD
Kevin Norwood - 100 yards
A whole bunch of others who never saw the field

DK Metcalf already has 336 yards and two TDs through six games, having started the season as a gametime decision Week 1. That puts him on pace for 896 yards and 5 TD. Obviously, yards and TD are not the best/only metric of WR success, but they are good indicators of involvement and effectiveness, especially since most rookies struggle to find a whole lot of either.

So what makes DK different? Apparently Metcalf is absurdly smart, according to his captain. That’s all fine and dandy, but I prefer the alternative theory. Metcalf will finish with one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Seattle history because he is unabashedly fearless, with the sheer strength of biceps to go with it.

Props here to our friends at the Checkdown for using the exact same intro to a DK Metcalf clip:

But they’re not wrong. Metcalf comes into the NFL with the distinct size advantage that we’re not used to seeing. It fits perfectly with his never-back-down personality. He’s going into tight spaces, he’s going up for contested catches, he’s running at potential tacklers.

I think this is what’s going to set Metcalf apart this year. He’s simply not afraid. It helps that all signs thus far indicate he’s good enough to not need to be.

DK only has 16 receptions, but it feels like every one of them includes either a high degree of difficulty or some significant yards after catch. By season’s end, he’s going to look like a steal at the 64th pick, not a combine warrior who had no business making you find out what a “route tree” even is.