*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are less typically physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much. 


There are two camps…two schools of thought on D.K. Metcalf in the football world today.

The first, the more populated group, ‘the masses’ if you will, contains the D.K. Metcalf is Batman” nonsense hype crowd that falls for everything the NFL establishment throws at them…and Metcalf is a prime cut of meat tossed to the hungry crowd.

The second, the lesser populated group, are the smart-ass scouting contrarians (like me) who see some wide receiving flaws with Metcalf, but just as importantly – we just don’t want to be associated with ‘the masses’ on scouting calls on a player. They, the football masses (group-think analysts and their fans), make my skin crawl…and they are almost always wrong. Betting against them blindly usually makes for a payday.

Most everyone reading this are willing to follow me into camp #2– you don’t want to get dragged down in the mud with ‘them’. You’re probably like me in another sense -- I used to be in the first camp on everything, but I broke away years ago. The ‘masses’ part of me, the piece that still exists, sees the Metcalf measurables and falls on the floor in awe…’he’s a freak’. I like freaks…we all like freaks. But then the contrarian part of me rears up, and I remember the tape I’ve previewed, and I recall all the flaws with Metcalf. I want to love that freak, but I should know better.  

Once the masses went bonkers on Metcalf, Combine weekend, it was easy to run with MY pack – to make fun of the masses and start taking potshots at Metcalf. The masses love Metcalf’s long 75-yard TD to open the Alabama game…I then remind them he caught just one other pass the next 59:49 of that game. They see a ‘freak’, and I reach into my bag of failed freaks…Sammie Coates, Kevin White, Stephen Hill (that one was from Xavier Cromartie), someone on my Twitter threw out Dorial Green-Beckham. Those are some great buckets of cold water to dump on ‘the masses’ heads. It is fun being smarter than them (I subconsciously, arrogantly tell myself ego/psyche).

As one of your leaders of the anti-masses football scouting, after mocking the Metcalf stuff most of Saturday and Sunday, I have to say…after further, deeper study Saturday and Sunday…I’m not absolutely sure that we few, we band of smart ass brothers are right on this one. But I’m also not sure the masses know what they’re talking about either.

I hate to tell you this, but this scouting study/report is not going to give you a definitive answer on Metcalf. In fact, it’s going to raise more questions than it answers. But I think you’re going to read a pretty compelling reasoning why I just don’t know how any of us can confidently reach a certain conclusion on Metcalf. It’s a weird scouting coin to flip. ‘Tails’ you get a bust we all laugh about and use as an example for years on how stupid the Combine is. ‘Heads’ we have, perhaps, THE MOST athletically gifted athlete to ever put on a uniform and line up at wide receiver…and that could translate straight to Canton.

It’s one or the other.

No pressure here.  

You (anti-Metcalf) think you know that Metcalf is a problem/has real flaws, but I’m not sure you do know the exact reason why…and I’ll explain why in a moment. Don’t celebrate on the other side (pro-Metcalf) either…because you probably don’t know the real issue to be debated/considered here. Reading this, you’re either fervently pro-freak/Metcalf or cautious/worried/mocking of his great bod and bad wide receiver-ing. I think there is a case to be made for both sides that is going to leave all of us not really knowing what to think or how to properly value him, if we’re honest.

I watched/studied D.K. Metcalf in more detail over the past few days more than maybe any WR prospect in years. I’m not using that to shame you/brag – I’m setting up something. There is a lot to unpack here and I needed to watch and track every play, regardless of whether the ball was thrown to him. It was while watching play-after-play that something hit me that is the key to making this a real coin flip scouting situation…a leap of faith for those on either side of the debate. Let me just go straight to that and then we’ll expand from there.

If you’re like me, you think one of the big issues with Metcalf is – he runs the same pass pattern over-and-over. He’s ALWAYS lined up on the left and then almost always sprints deep on every play. Occasionally, he hooks up with the quarterback for a big play (which gets shown a thousand times on ESPN and NFL Network), but mostly he is running deep, totally covered by the cornerback (in games against Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, etc., the games with real defenders). It’s a turn off if you scouted a few games of his work.

If you’re like me, you watched some tape and thought – the guy is always covered and only has two routes, and the straight-and-deep one is his go-to move 90% of the time. How can a guy be so fast and yet covered like glue most of the time? Where are his other routes?

If you’re a D.K. defender, you saw this and argued that ‘he’s doing what he’s asked to do’ and the upside is ‘he has more to give’ with better coaching and technique. You’re not wrong thinking that, but I’m going to pierce that bubble too.

Do you want to know why Greedy Williams/LSU held him to 3 catches for 37 yards and no TDs in 2018? You want to know why Alabama held him to one other catch after he opened the game with a long touchdown? It’s not because Metcalf is ‘football slow’ or has some issue with being lackadaisical. It’s because by 2018, SEC teams figured it out – Metcalf is going to run that same pass pattern almost every time…lined up on the left, going deep in a sprint or with a stutter step and then take off deep. Top rated NFL CB prospect Greedy Williams, especially, just watched him look like a fool with his double move attempts, etc., as Greedy just faded into a backpedal and was already sprinting deep before D.K. hit high gear going deep…like Greedy knew he would, no matter what D.K. was doing off the snap. When the Ole Miss quarterback snuck a look at the emerging Metcalf deep route, off the snap, the corners were already 5+ yards fading back and Metcalf wasn’t close to looking open so the quarterback typically turned away and the ball/pass went elsewhere.

Ole Miss’s #1 pass play…send Metcalf deep, take 1-2 defenders with him and then throw underneath or anywhere else – more than a few times to A.J. Brown heading towards the area Metcalf was clearing out.

Opposing SEC corners knew to play back and get ready to sprint with Metcalf downfield…with the corner having a massive head start. And Metcalf kept doing it regardless…it was bizarre to watch Metcalf flail away the same route. Thus, Metcalf was rarely open. Sometimes they threw it to him anyway and it usually resulted in an incomplete or occasional acrobatic catch on a piss-poor ball thrown. If you just watch every target of Metcalf’s in SEC play…you’d be frustrated and disgusted that people think he’s a ‘top guy’. Like I was. Never/rarely open despite his speed. It wasn’t a problem with his speed…it was his predictable one-note route.

The masses would say, “Just throw him the damn ball and let him get it.” And that statement shows your ignorance on the subject as well. He’s running the same pattern and the corner knows it…it’s taken away quickly. Throwing it up for grabs would be dumb a lot of the time. His predictable route was his downfall…and makes it somewhat impossible to scout him -- because how do you scout an athletic freak when runs the same pattern when the corner knows it’s coming? It would be like scouting Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson just based on his 2018 season with Steve Wilks. They ran the same play with him over-and-over…a run straight up the middle. I’ve never seen anything like it. Johnson had a terrible year. You could blame it on DJ, but how could he be successful if 11 guys are stacked to stop a play that they knew was coming and the coaching staff obliged by continuing to run it? The coach didn’t get himself fired after only one year by being great at coaching.

Scouting Metcalf properly is nearly impossible because of the same issue, the same known route over and over. We really don’t know much about what else he can offer or how good he can be. It’s like you and I having a final interview for a big job opportunity. We’re both talented, but you’re more talented…only I found a list of the questions that will be asked 24 hours before our interviews, and I also found an audio tape of the interview team discussing what they are looking for to distinguish between us. There will be no surprises for me…and I prepare my game plan for the answers, just stick to the script. Who do you think will get the job? Might be me because I knew everything that was going to happen in advance. I got the job, but am I a better interviewee than you? No. I just played to the known and you were stuck looking slower on the draw by comparison. It wasn’t real. You were put into that situation/competition unfairly. I knew everything that would happen, and it did…and I looked good and you not so much. But that doesn’t mean I’m that good. Metcalf was put into the same route over-and-over and the corners knew it. He was at the same disadvantage.

Now, pro-Metcalf people are bursting at the seams to say to me -- maybe he’d be great with a bigger route tree, then? And, possibly, you’re also railing on how stupid Ole Miss was in their offense. Both fine points. Here’s the issue…

You’re right…and you’re wrong.

What’s crazy is…Metcalf would occasionally do his sprint deep (from the left side, of course) and the corner would be off him by 5+ yards to start and already backpedaling in anticipation of Metcalf doing whatever the first five yards but knowing he’s eventually sprinting straight…and it happened almost every time…but then every now and then, Metcalf would go 7-10 yards or so and then stop and come back or he’d go five yards and slant across the middle. When Metcalf did do this, he’d be wide open almost every time…but usually not getting a look/target.

Think about that. When he ran different routes, he was wide open…but not getting the ball.

Potentially the whole debate/everything there is to know and ponder on Metcalf is on this topic of the ‘other routes’ not the deep ones. So, get ready…

Think about it, and trust my set up (or go watch all his games out there on YouTube) – a 4.33 40-time guy with 1.45 10-yard split, at his size, with corners playing off him 5+ yards and already backpedaling off the snap – why didn’t he run more short routes? 

What comes to mind? Is he too dumb? Was it the Ole Miss QB? Was it the Ole Miss coaching? Is he lazy?

Let me add this observation…the Ole Miss quarterback, Jordan Ta’amu, was not very good. With that wide receiver group, he should have won a Heisman, but he didn’t…nor did the team even get to a bowl game. But he wasn’t dreadful, he was just college limited. Ta’amu was a limited passer talent for sure.

So, now you’re thinking it’s an upside to be capitalized on at the next level with a better QB? Perhaps.

Allow me to add this observation…when Metcalf did NOT go deep (on 22% of the routes I tracked against better opponents), he looked…well, he looked not-good. He looked uncomfortable. He did not show the ability to catch with the hand snatch and keep rolling. Usually, when he went short, he had to come to a stop and focus on the catch, and then too often defaulted to catching with two arms to his chest technique (which is NFL death). To me, he looked mostly terrible and uncomfortable running routes inside…terrible in NFL starter terms.

Here’s the damning thing about Metcalf and ‘the route tree’ from all this – corners and defensive coordinators not only knew to play Metcalf going deep because he would 78% of the time (against the better opponents), but they were also like…go ahead and stop short/run inside, because your QB will probably not even look for you, and if he does you’ll probably stop dead to catch it and we’ll tackle you, or you’ll drop it. All the options are preferable to you beating us deep.

So, then why didn’t Ole Miss attack this obvious wrinkle/option? Get Metcalf the ball short and let ‘Batman’ run wild? I ask this – What if the Ole Miss coaches and quarterback knew Metcalf was unreliable in the short game (as you can see if you watch him enough) and they were trying to hide it, and just use him for what he was kinda good at…sprinting deep and clearing space? I saw some bad drops, and some ugly catches with Metcalf on his shorter routes. What if Ole Miss knew what SEC defensive coordinators eventually knew, and something the fawning media and the masses aren’t even considering or thinking ‘can be fixed/coached up’– Metcalf is terrible on short routes and only has one gear/gift for the NFL, and when they find out that’s the case he’ll be cut off/limited like he was against LSU/Greedy Williams…rendering him fairly useless for the NFL?

Anti-Metcalfers are rejoicing at this observation, and pro-Metcalfers are shouting – but he can fix that in the NFL. They can teach him to run routes and work on his hands! Oh, you’re so adorable. What limited wide receivers, but athletic freaks, go to the NFL with heavy weaknesses and magically become sure-handed, route-running masters?  It’s not impossible, I guess, but you want to focus on a 4.33 40-time and 1.6% body fat myths…while I’m looking at Greedy Williams, a much smaller corner, eat him alive on tape. I’m watching him look stiff into short routes and showing bad catching ability on the interior. Why do the obvious flaws get cancelled out by the ‘Batman’ stuff? Why do you assume he’ll flip some switch? You’ve seen NFL coaching…you sure he’ll get ‘unlocked’ in the NFL? SEC coaches are typically the best in the country. He had three years to develop at Ole Miss…he didn’t.

But before anti-Metcalfers spike the ball, we have another angle that cannot be overlooked…what if the flaws are cancelled out by the Batman stuff?

You know, if Metcalf was a Laquon Treadwell…a big-not-huge, limited athlete (as tested at his Pro Day), then ‘who cares’ about developing him? However, we’ve never really seen anything like Metcalf…he is the freak of freaks. If my team (as a GM) drafted him, I’d hire the best private coaches to work with him every day. I might ask him to take on some carbs, get out of the weight room, and grab a yoga mat to get more fluid. His agility times were terrible at the Combine, furthering the narrative he’s a stiff runner on anything besides a straight sprint. Metcalf’s freakish physical abilities are worth the money and effort to try to transform/fix.

What’s an NFL team to do?

Do they ignore all the red flags and try to ‘make’ a Hall of Fame wide receiver here, and risk being mocked for blowing it with this pick? NFL head coaches, etc., don’t typically have 2-3 years to develop players. They can’t really afford to not get instant ROI on guys taken first-round who cost a lot of money.


Does an NFL team just acknowledge the ‘Batman’, tip the cap, and ‘pass’ on taking him early because it will be too costly, too much effort, too much time to try to make this happen…when there are several other great athletes who are natural wide receivers available in this draft? N’Keal Harry is ready to go right away, no ‘fixing’…and Harry is roughly the same size, same vertical, and bench…just not as straight-line fast as Metcalf, but he is ready to go year one, Week 1? DeAndre Hopkins is arguably the best WR in the game, or Antonio Brown – neither would be mistaken for D.K. Metcalf on the eyeball test.

I know the NFL will not be able to help themselves. It’s understandable. I really want a Tesla because they look cool. However, I get to where I am going just fine and am delighted with my Hyundai. I want a Tesla, but for the price and available service locations/costs and recharging station availability…my new Hyundai is way smarter to own, and I am totally happy with it. Metcalf is the Tesla of WR prospects, and there will be more than one GM with an ego and the disposable income who wants the Tesla because at its best it is way better, and way more interesting than a Hyundai.

Metcalf is a nice young man as well, so that makes it more appealing to believe he will overcome…and he might. He’s smart, affable, good grades, and obviously work ethic off the charts…except for route running and natural catching of the football – which also makes me worry that Metcalf focuses on the wrong things. He took his one gift and blew it up to ‘amazing’ (his physique) and his other issues/scouting question marks, he didn’t improve upon in college.

You also have the fact that Metcalf has, essentially, a broken neck (cutting his 2018 short). He’s been an injury issue in college all the way through. Looks amazing driving down the street, but this Tesla body is often in the shop/in the garage…and is very expensive to upkeep/maintain.

Do you want the top of the line, loaded Hyundai that never lets you down or the cooler, more dynamic Tesla with tons of red flags for ownership (depending upon your geography) all over the place? The Hyundai sounds like the wise choice, but no one ever sees a Hyundai on the road and goes “Hey, kids look…a Hyundai!” They do with a Tesla. My son took an Uber on a business trip and texted my whole family mid-trip with a picture of the Tesla that picked him up. The NFL is a TV show on a certain level…D.K. Metcalf is a box office draw on a certain level. There’s value in that. Plus, he just looks ‘cool’. He is a freak. And you take extra chances on freaks for the NFL.

Can an NFL team take this incredible piece of clay and mold it into a Hall of Famer? I get the gravitational pull of Metcalf. I just see the folly in it as well. There’s no obvious answer to this pre-NFL. Both sides are right in what they see pro and con.


D.K. Metcalf, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:

To my original point on Metcalf running the same routes and the corners knowing it…how then can we properly judge his output comparative to whatever? I will say, considering the limitations…his numbers aren’t bad. It could portend what could happen in the NFL – don’t draft him to be the next Larry Fitzgerald, draft him to be a giant deep ball threat that takes a corner and possible safety away and opens up an area for others to work under? Focus on what he can do not what he can’t. 

Metcalf only played in 21 games over three college seasons, He did score 14 TDs in those 21 games. He did give you what he could – jump balls in the red zone and occasional homerun deep ball lightning strikes. 

Against Alabama (2x), LSU (2x), Arkansas (2x), Auburn, Texas A&M the past two seasons, Metcalf averaged: 2.4 catches, 48.0 yards, 0.38 TDs per game. When the competition was stiffer…Metcalf didn’t really come through. It wasn’t because he was doubled as much as he was predictable and limited. 

Turning back to his measurables – these numbers are almost without compare. We have one WR who kinda fits the mold, and it’s not favorable to Metcalf (and maybe not a fair comp). We’ll look at that in the next section.

2019 NFL Combine measurables:

6’3.3”/228, 9.8” hands, 34.8” arms

4.33 40-time, 1.45 10-yard, 4.50 shuttle, 7.38 three-cone

27 bench reps, 40.5” vertical, 11’2” broad

High-end everything…except low-end shuttle/three-cone. Weak agility is a red flag looking at his tape.

The Historical WR Prospects to Whom D.K. Metcalf Most Compares Within Our System:

In 2011, Pitt’s Jonathan Baldwin was D.K. Metcalf…only fewer questions about his ability and more questions about his character. He was so alluring that he was a shock late 1st-round draft pick and an almost immediate NFL Draft bust.

Look at the two of them side by side…

6’4”/228, 10.1” hand, 4.49 40-tm, 20 bench, 42.0” vert., 4.34 shuttle, 7.07 three-cone = Baldwin/2011

6’3”/228, 9.9”  hand, 4.33 40-tm, 27 bench, 40.5” vert., 4.50 shuttle, 7.38 three-cone = Metcalf/2019

I’m not suggesting Metcalf = Baldwin. It’s not that simple. Metcalf could be more Vincent Jackson…but VJax was a bit ahead of his time too. Being the ‘next Vincent Jackson’ or ‘the next Jonathan Baldwin’ is really the crux of this scouting report. I see evidence of both. Pick your poison. If you think you definitively know…you don’t. You’re hoping and wishing and speculating. So am I. 


WR Score

Draft Yr







Power Strngth Metric

Speed Agility Metric

Hands Metric



























N. Colorado











Ole Miss











Georgia St












































W Texas A&M







*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Big-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Big-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Big-WR.

All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced. Mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, rated historically in our database.

“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/to create separation.

“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and overall this projects the combination of performance and physical data for the next level.

2019 NFL Draft Outlook:

This will be interesting…where will Metcalf go in the Draft? His hype is top 10. The question marks and depth of the WR class would say late 1st-round, knowing the NFL. I think the upside is too intriguing for the NFL. I’ll guess that he’ll go top 20 but his hype may really fizzle as people pick him apart in March and April. 

If I were an NFL GM, I would ‘pass’. I’d like to take a shot, but the cost is too high. The risk is too great. There are too many other good/great WRs in this draft. Calvin Johnson was no real help to the Detroit Lions wins-losses, but he was a freak and a great receiving weapon…way better than Metcalf. Why take a guy, like Metcalf, who has bust red flags and who might need a lot of work to get a payoff in 2-3 years, and bypass some of the great talent in this draft. There might be 3-4-5-6-8-9 ‘freak’-like, in different ways, wide receivers in this draft. If I end up being wrong…I can live with it. Plenty of other fish in the WR sea.

NFL Outlook:   

I have no idea, truly. He could be developed into a monster. He could bust hard and fast like Laquon Treadwell or Stephen Hill. He could just be a neat, random deep ball threat that helps a team’s overall offense because so much attention goes onto Metcalf. 

Imagine Metcalf on the Buffalo Bills…he’ll get lost like a new-Kelvin Benjamin. 

Imagine Metcalf with Mahomes or Mayfield…we’ll lose our minds with the possibilities of connecting on those deep routes 1-2x a game. 

That’s where we are all at here -- excited, but cautious…and it depends upon, “Where’s he going?”

My guess is he is he’ll never be as good as we dreamed nor as bad as we feared. He’s useful or good, a unique weapon that helps an offense. I just don’t know that that’s worth a top 30-50 pick.