As I said yesterday, there are nine collegiate wide receivers being spoken of as being potential high-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Here they are, along with their ages, sizes, and colleges:
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – age ?, 6’3”, 225#, Stanford
- A.J. Brown – age 21, 6’, 226#, Ole Miss
- Marquise Brown – age 21, 5’10”, 170#, Oklahoma
- Hakeem Butler – age 22, 6’6”, 225#, Iowa State
- Parris Campbell – age 23, 6’1”, 208#, Ohio State
- N’Keal Harry – age 21, 6’2”, 228#, Arizona State
- Andy Isabella – age ?. 5’9”. 188#, UMass
- D.K. Metcalf – age 21, 6’3”, 228#, Ole Miss
- Deebo Samuel – age 23, 5’11”, 214#, South Carolina
Speed and Collegiate Honors
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – 4.49 dash (Pro Day); second-team All-Pac-12 (2018)
- A.J. Brown –4.49 dash, twice first-team All-SEC (2017, 2018)
- Marquise Brown – 4.3 (est.) dash, first-team All-American (2018); first-team All-Big 12 (2018)
- Hakeem Butler – 4.48 dash; second-team All-Big 12 (2018)
- Parris Campbell –4.31 dash, first team All-Big Ten (2018), second team All-Big Ten (2017), third team All-Big Ten (2016)
- N’Keal Harry – 4.53 dash, 2x first-team All-Pac-12 (2017, 2018)
- Andy Isabella – 4.31 dash, Consensus All-American (2018)
- D.K. Metcalf – 4.33 dash, no honors, due to injury-shortened seasons
- Deebo Samuel – 4.48 dash, first-team All-American (2018); first team All-SEC (2018)
Body of College Work
- J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – in his 2 most productive years at Stanford, had 111 catches, 1,840 yards, 16.6 ave., 23 TDs.
- A.J. Brown – in 3 years at Ole Miss went for 189 catches, 2,984 yards, 15.8 ave., and 19 TDs
- Marquise Brown – made the most of his 2 years at Oklahoma: 132 catches, 2,545 yards, 19.3 ave., 17 TDs.
- Hakeem Butler – in 2 productive years at Iowa State, had 101 catches, for 2,015 yards, 19.95 ave, 16 TDs
- Parris Campbell – in essentially 3 years at Ohio State had 143 catches for 1,768 yards, 12.4 ave., and 15 TDs
- N’Keal Harry – in 3 years at Arizona State, had 213 catches, 2,889 yards, 13.6 ave., and 23 TDs.
- Andy Isabella – in 4 years at UMass had 231 receptions, 3,526 yards, 15.3 ave. and 30 TDs
- D.K. Metcalf – in essentially 2 years at Ole Miss went for 65 catches, 1,215 yards, 18.7 ave., and 12 TDs.
- Deebo Samuel – played 4 years at South Carolina, producing 148 catches, 2,076 yards, 14.0 ave., 16 TDs.
I don’t yet have a firm handle on how Gute’s brain works, as he’s only been the GM for a year. But we can make some deductions.
We know Gute is attracted to size, though perhaps the Pack is already top-heavy in the receiver department. Their big boys in this year’s pool are: Metcalf (6’3”, 228), Harry (6’2”, 228), Butler (6’6”, 225), Arcega-Whiteside (6’3”, 225), and A.J. Brown (6’, 226).
Gute has indicated he’s attracted to speed, and there are some burners this year: Isabella (4.31), Campbell (4.31), Metcalf (4.33), and Marquise Brown is estimated at 4.3 (missed combine with foot surgery).
Could he (prodded on by Coach LaFleur) be inclined toward a small, quick slot receiver? If so, there’s Isabella (5’9”, 188), Marquise Brown (5’10”, 170), and maybe Samuel (5’11”, 214).
If Gute treasures a strong record of college accomplishment, he’ll like the fact that Isabella is a Consensus All-American, and that Marquise Brown and Deebo Samuel are 1st team All-Americans – these guys are so accomplished that being a 1st team conference leader seems kind of ho-hum.
Bottom line: In his short time as GM, Gutekunst has proven he’s not afraid to take risks. D.K Metcalf is a freak of nature: 6’3”, 228#, 4.33 dash time – and he’s got other equally breath-taking combine numbers: 40.5” vertical jump, 134” broad jump, 27 bench presses. He’s a man-child at age 21.
But there are some big buts: he’s opted for the draft after just his redshirt sophomore year at Mississippi; he missed the latter parts of two seasons due to injuries, so he’s only recorded 67 receptions for 1,228 yards and 14 touchdowns in his shortened college career. This small a sampling renders him a considerable risk. As do the injuries.
However, if Gute and his crew are satisfied after lots of film study, if they like his character and work ethic (neither of which is questioned), and if they aren’t unduly bothered by his health history, none of the others has near the potential of this 21-year-old. I think Gute and his team will take the gamble on DeKaylin Zecharius Metcalf – no wonder why he goes by “DK”.
I simply would not expend this rare # 12 selection on a receiver as small as Isabella or Marquise Brown.
N’Keal Harry had an impressive career at Arizona State – first team All-Pac-12 can’t be ignored. He’s big and tough, and at 21 he’s probably nowhere near his physical peak. Maybe if he dropped ten pounds, he’d bring that dash speed down from 4.53 to 4.48 or so? He’s be one of the last I’d eliminate.
A.J. Brown is nearly a carbon copy of Harry – three great years in college, and two times first team in his conference. Another 21-year old, his 226 pounds of muscle fits well on his 6’ frame, and he still came in with a 4.49 dash time. I like Brown over Harry by the smallest of margins – he’s my first runner-up.
When I scanned the collegiate careers of the other candidates, I wasn’t that impressed. Only two of them have four years of college experience; and four of them only had two “productive” years. The only guys whose college exploits make me feel really comfortable with are Isabella, Harry, and A.J. Brown. Admittedly I’m basing this on raw statistics – maybe some of these guys had lousy quarterbacks.
My initial reaction was to be doubtful about D.K. Metcalf, as his brief resume and his tender age makes him a risky choice at such an important juncture in Packers’ history. On the other hand, the reason this red-shirt sophomore cut his college career so short is that he’s such a freakish athlete he’s a cinch to be taken high in this year’s draft. I assume the foot injury he had in his aborted first year and the neck injury that prematurely ended his final year are fully healed.
My gold standard for a star NFL wideout is of course Atlanta’s Julio Jones. Metcalf is bigger. Jones ran a 4.39 at the NFL Combine. Metcalf is faster (4.33). Julio did 17 bench press reps. Metcalf did 10 more, placing him in the 99th percentile of wide receivers on that test. Bigger, faster, stronger than Julio – The choice is clear to me.
Check it out:
Metcalf has great NFL bloodlines, through his father and grandfather, and his uncle Eric Metcalf played 13 seasons in the league. Eric was a small guy who variously was a running back, receiver, and punt and kick returner.
Scouts haven’t indicated any history of “character issues.” One guy feels he has traits of being a ‘diva,’ but it didn’t prove a negative for Deion Sanders. In fact, he’s even said to be a good student.
Yes, he’s unrefined, and his route running is a work in progress, but he’s got so much athletic ability that he’ll be a solid contributor in the pros from Day 1.
Let’s talk deep threats. DK averaged 18.3 for his college career. The guy’ stands about four inches taller than most DBs, his arms 34 7/8ths”) are another three inches or so longer, and his vertical jump adds another six or so inches to the equation. He can go a foot higher than the competition, and when it comes to who’s going to bring down a contested ball, it’s no contest.
Despite some trepidation, if I were the GM I could not pass up a player with such an unbelievable athletic profile. He could be a receiver for the ages.
Rodgers and Metcalf: a match made in heaven – unless one of the first 11 teams choosing before the Packers destroys the dream.
The only team that had a private pre-draft visit with Metcalf has been the Bills, who pick at # 9. I’ve heard four players mentioned as being Buffalo’s first-round target, and none is Metcalf.