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DK Metcalf comps: The good, the bad and the ugly

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NFL: MAY 04 Seahawks Rookie Mini-Camp

As the offseason slowly winds down, fans of the Seattle Seahawks have spent a good deal of the months since the draft debating what DK Metcalf brings to the team. Some fans look at his unique combination of size and speed and see the next Julio Jones or Calvin Johnson, while others focus on his poor 3-cone and short shuttle times and see a player who may never live up to the hype.

I’m not here to declare one way or another today, as all I’m going to do right now is work through some of the few receivers whose combine measurements and performance can be argued are comparable to those of Metcalf. Without wasting too much time, what I did was take advantage of the Pro-Football-Reference.com NFL Combine Results finder tool to search for receivers who were at least in Metcalf’s ballpark. Specifically, what I did was look for receivers who had measured in at 6’2” or taller at the combine while running a 40 yard dash in 4.45 seconds or less, while weighing 215 or more pounds. The results of such a search yield a group of 23 receivers, and in this piece we’ll start by looking at the ugly results: The bottom 12 of this group.

So, to get right into the data, here are the twelve receivers with a build at least somewhat resembling Metcalf in terms of height and weight, along with a forty time that is less than one eight of a second slower. I’ve included Metcalf’s measurables at the top of the

The worst of the DK Metcalf comparisons

Player Draft Position Height Wt 40YD? Vertical BenchReps Broad Jump 3Cone Shuttle
Player Draft Position Height Wt 40YD? Vertical BenchReps Broad Jump 3Cone Shuttle
DK Metcalf 2.64 75 228 4.33 40.5 27 134 7.38 4.5
Stephen Hill 2.43 76 215 4.36 39.5 14 133 6.88 4.48
Ricardo Louis 4.114 74 215 4.43 38 18 132 N/A N/A
David Gettis 6.198 75 217 4.43 34.5 15 124 6.94 4.41
Tyrone Calico 2.60 76 223 4.34 38 N/A 127 6.73 4.26
Devin Thomas 2.34 74 216 4.41 28 N/A 126 7.15 4.26
Jaelen Strong 3.70 74 217 4.44 42 N/A 123 N/A N/A
Kevin White 1.7 75 215 4.35 36.5 23 123 6.92 4.14
Jeff Janis 7.236 75 219 4.42 37.5 20 123 6.64 3.98
James Hardy 2.41 77 217 4.45 31.5 18 125 6.84 4.2
Marko Mitchell 7.243 76 218 4.43 32 9 116 7.04 4.33
Tommy Streeter 6.198 77 219 4.37 33 17 125 7.08 N/A
Robert Davis 6.209 75 219 4.44 41 19 136 6.82 4.28

From this group the closest comps in terms of size and speed are Tyrone Calico, Stephen Hill, Kevin White and Tommy Streeter. Of those, it would appear that an argument could be made that either Calico or White would be the best comparison. However, Calico measures far closer to Metcalf when it comes to arm length (White: 32-5/8”, Calico: 34-3/8”, Metcalf: 34-7/8”) and hand size (White: 9-1/4”, Calico: 9-5/8”, Metcalf: 9-7/8”). In addition, both Calico and Metcalf were drafted in a very similar spot at the end of the second round, with Calico being taken with the 60th overall pick and Metcalf the 64th.

So, exactly how ugly were the careers of these bottom twelve comparables? Well, I’m not going to spend too much time digging into things because there’s really not a whole lot to dig into. The numbers on this group of unattractive comps are, in a word, ugly.

Stats for the group of DK Metcalf comps we’re going to pretend never existed

Player Career Yards Best season Draft Position
Player Career Yards Best season Draft Position
Stephen Hill 594 342 2.43
Ricardo Louis 562 357 4.114
David Gettis 508 508 6.198
Tyrone Calico 501 297 2.60
Devin Thomas 482 325 2.34
Jaelen Strong 330 161 3.70
Kevin White 285 187 1.7
Jeff Janis 200 93 7.236
James Hardy 96 87 2.41
Marko Mitchell 32 32 7.243
Tommy Streeter 0 0 6.198
Robert Davis 0 0 6.209

Anytime Stephen Hill has the top production for a group of receivers, there’s no questioning the fact that it’s not likely a very desirable group of pass catchers to have on an NFL roster. That said, I’m not going to dig into too much with these, because many of them were either low draft picks or saw injuries derail their careers. White appeared in just fourteen games for the Chicago Bears after having been a top ten pick, while injuries limited Hill to just 23 games in two years with the New York Jets. After being cut by the Jets in 2014, he spent that season on the Carolina Panthers practice squad, only to tear his ACL during training camp in 2015 after having reportedly flashed early.

Behind Hill on the list is Ricardo Louis, who is still only 25 years old and could add to his totals. He spent 2018 on injured reserve for the Cleveland Browns with a neck injury, and is currently on the 90-man roster of the Miami Dolphins after having been released back in April.

Coming in third on the list is David Gettis, who recorded all 508 of his career receiving yards for the Panthers as a rookie in 2010, only to tear his ACL during training camp in 2011. Gettis recovered enough to make the Panthers roster in 2012, but did not record a reception, and after that bounced around to the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL without ever making another catch in the NFL.

At fourth on the list is Calico. As noted above, he’s physically and athletically about as close a comp as there is to Metcalf on the list. Add in the fact that he was taken late in the second round, and the situations for the two become even more similar. As for what happened to Calico, it’s another story of the injury bug. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s a story of the Roy Williams horse collar tackle bug causing a knee injury in 2005 that effectively ended his NFL career. Also, what may have hurt Calico’s career production was the coach for whom he played, which is extra relevant this week, but not a subject I’m going to dig into right now.

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In short, injuries are what derailed the careers of many of the names on this list. They had the size, the speed and the potential to do more, but a serious knee injury early in their careers derailed things. Jaelen Strong suffered a torn ACL. James Hardy was plagued by hamstring injuries during his brief career. Tommy Streeter spent his rookie year on injured reserve for the Baltimore Ravens with a foot injury and finished his NFL career having played only six snaps.

So, as with any NFL player, injuries are a risk to Metcalf, especially as he continues to work on his route running and hone his skills. As for the comparable players who are not the bottom half of the list, we’ll get to those over the weekend.