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

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San Francisco 49ers v Detroit Lions Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images

Field Gulls readers first suffered through the receivers who had less than desirable careers in the NFL after displaying size and athleticism that are somewhat similar to DK Metcalf. Then they put up with the piece about those who were disappointing, but definitely a step ahead of those at the bottom.

Well, in the words of Bruce Buffer, “It’s time.”

Or, as fans of the song “In My Mind” might say, “This is what we’re waiting for.”

Since I know all y’all are here for the hype, I’m going to keep this short and sweet and get right into the comps.

Yeah, that’s the good stuff

Player Height Wt 40YD Vertical BenchReps Broad Jump 3Cone Shuttle
Player Height Wt 40YD Vertical BenchReps Broad Jump 3Cone Shuttle
D.K. Metcalf 75 228 4.33 40.5 27 134 7.38 4.5
Andre Johnson 74 230 4.41 39 N/A 132 N/A 4.10*
Calvin Johnson 77 239 4.35 42.5 N/A 139 N/A N/A
Julio Jones 75 220 4.34 38.5 17 135 6.66 4.25
Michael Jenkins 76 218 4.40 34 N/A 126 6.93 4.31
Justin Gage 76 217 4.45 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Donte Moncrief 74 221 4.40 39.5 13 132 7.02 4.3

One quick note about these comps is a comment that has been made regarding the fact that Metcalf is an outlier for certain of these measurements, which is absolutely the case. Specifically, his 27 bench press reps ties him with the highest for any wide receiver at the Combine this millennium. However, there is an interesting common thread among all four wide receivers who hit 27 reps.

First of all, Metcalf was obviously rehabbing following the surgery he had on his neck that caused him to miss the second half of the 2018 seasons. The other three players who hit 27 reps are N’Keal Harry, Greg Little and Brooks Foster. Harry skipped his team’s bowl game in order to avoid any injury risk on the field after the regular season had concluded. Little was declared ineligible by the NCAA for his senior season and sat out the entire 2010 campaign. and Foster suffered a quad injury in the regular season finale and missed his team’s bowl game. In addition, the only other wide receiver to put up 25 or more reps at the combine since 2000 is T.J. Moe of Missouri, whose 2012 Tigers went 5-7 and didn’t make a bowl game.

In short, every receiver that has done 25 or more reps on the bench press at the combine this century has not practiced with their college team after Thanksgiving. Further, two of the four who hit the top mark of 27 did not practice with their team after mid-October. Thus, perhaps a wide receiver hitting the top mark on the bench press is an indication that the receiver didn’t see their strength and muscle mass sapped by the long period of practices leading up to a bowl game. For an example of this, one need look no further than the Seahawks own Jacob Martin, who lost 25 pounds over the course of the 2018 season, dropping from the mid-240s to 220 by the end of the year according to head coach Pete Carroll earlier this spring.

Whether this idea, which is nothing more than an idea at this point, has any validity I don’t know. However, we know that players lose muscle mass during the grind of a long season and games, while Metcalf last suited up for Ole Miss on October 13 before suffering the season-ending neck injury. Thus, this idea would need to be converted into a testable hypothesis before it even gets granted any kind of status beyond just the idea that it might be something to look into at some point in the future.

In any case, let’s quit talking about the bench press and skipping bowl games and being declared ineligible by the NCAA and get back to what we came here for, how the best receivers who athletically and physically resemble Metcalf performed in the NFL.

Well, well, well. How do you like them apples?

Player Career Yards Best season Draft Position
Player Career Yards Best season Draft Position
Andre Johnson 14185 1598 1.3
Calvin Johnson 11619 1964 1.2
Julio Jones 10731 1871 1.6
Michael Jenkins 4427 777 1.29
Justin Gage 2958 750 5.143
Donte Moncrief 2543 733 3.90

Those top three are highly impressive and need no explanation. Justin Gage in fourth on the list might seem a little out of place since he ended his career with fewer yards than Michael Floyd, who was named to the bad list published Sunday. However, Floyd was a first round pick who has battled alcohol issues since before he was ever selected with the 13th overall selection in the draft, and so the fact that Gage was a fifth round pick changes the evaluation.

In addition, while it might be kind of surprising to see Donte Moncrief included on this list, he remains young, and is set to play the 2019 season in the pass happy offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers at just 26 years of age. Thus, there would seem to be significant potential for Moncrief to materially add to his totals over the next five or six years. This could be especially true if Ben Roethlisberger can continue to play well, as he’s spent the last two seasons catching passes from the likes of Blake Bortles and Jacoby Brissett.

So, wrapping up the three part look at the athletic comps for Metcalf, the potential outcomes are all over the board. Thus, now that the range of potential outcomes has been mapped, it’s possible to begin looking at more predictive factors and projecting how he might perform in the NFL based on the production he posted in college.