It’s a historic crop of Mississippi guys in the NFL Draft. Our NFL insider ‘Iso’ Joe Simeone takes on the challenge of predicting where the best players will land. Part Two: Mississippi State DE Montez Sweat
By Joe Simeone
Where Will They Land: D.K. Metcalf
Let’s start off with the Ole Miss wide receiver that blew the socks off of scouts at the NFL Combine. After running a 4.33 40 yard dash at 6’3” 225 pounds, Metcalf has seen his draft stock shoot up and he might very well be the first player from Mississippi off the board. Metcalf has the size, speed, and jump ball ability of an NFL superstar, but when you take his limited college production and injury history it becomes less clear where Metcalf fits in this draft.
When you watch his tape, it is immediately evident that nearly all of his yards came off of the fly and the curl routes. Part of this is a result of the offensive system Ole Miss runs, but I think some of it has to do with his trouble in changing direction. Metcalf put up some of the worst 3-cone times (7.38 seconds) in recent history, although that may have been due to him slipping up as pointed out by Brett Kollman. Metcalf has a lot of potential to make an immediate impact in the NFL: he could be the next Calvin Johnson. Or the next Laquon Treadwell; only time will tell. Let’s take a look at some of Metcalf’s potential landing spots.
No. 7 Jacksonville Jaguars
A team searching for an offense. The Jaguars have one of the best young defenses in the league that helped propel them to an AFC Championship game in 2017. But 2018, by all accounts, was a disaster for the Jaguars, finishing dead last in the AFC South. But this was not the fault of the defense. The offense regressed massively as Blake Bortles showed that he could not take the next step in his career. The Jags finally made the decision to move on from Bortles this past March. They then filled the position by locking up ex-Eagles Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to a 4 year, 86 million dollar contract.
Foles is the first step in revitalizing this offense but if they want to get a taste of that ‘Philly magic’ they need to surround him with some weapons. While pick seven might feel a little early for Metcalf, the Jaguars need to make a splash on the offensive side of things. Zach Ertz who stands at 6’5 and Alshon Jeffery who stands at 6’3” were two of Foles’ favorite targets in Philly. Metcalf, who stands at 6’3,” is the perfect piece to help Foles and the Jaguars offense have success and bounce back in 2019.
No. 12 Green Bay Packers
A quarterback crying for help. It’s no secret that Green Bay is unhappy with their recent struggles to make it back to the postseason. With possibly the most talented quarterback in the league on the roster, it is easy to see why the players and fans are frustrated. Only Devante Adams broke 650 receiving yards for the Packers last year and it seemed clear that Aaron Rodgers did not trust the rest of his receivers. The Packers moved on from head coach Mike McCarthy, who many blamed for their uninspiring offense, and hired Matt LeFleur from the Tennessee Titans. If the Packers truly want to revive this offense a coaching change is not all that needs to be done. Metcalf could be walking into the perfect situation. He brings a size and speed combination that Rodgers has never had a chance to play with in his career. If LeFluer wants to have success in Green Bay, I would expect him to lobby hard for his team to grab Metcalf.
No. 15 Washington Redskins
NW-No. Year after year, no matter who is at the helm of the Redskins it seems like they have no answer at the wide receiver position. The ‘Skins are in a peculiar position, with no clear-cut long term answer at quarterback. Whoever they decide on, one thing is sure: he will need a top receiver to throw to. The Redskins have not had a receiver go over 1,100 yards since DeSean Jackson in 2014. They also just lost a promising young wide receiver Jamison Crowder in free agency to the New York Jets. Metcalf IS the ideal answer for the Redskins. Although there are many other positions of need for this Redskins team, they (still) need a dynamic wideout who can play outside and change the game. Taking Metcalf at 15 seems like a very realistic option for the Redskins and very good bang for your buck.
No.19 Tennessee Titans
Now or never for Mariota? The Titans are one of the few teams on this list that have an established quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Mariota will be entering his fifth season in the NFL, and with only one postseason appearance, questions are rampant about his ability to lead the Titans. To Mariota’s defense, he has never had much help. Similar to the Redskins, if you look for the last 1,000-yard receiver in Tennessee you have to go back to 2015. If you wanted to find the last time the Titans had a receiver over 1,100 yards you have to dig in the archives back to 2004, when Drew Bennett and Derrick Mason both eclipsed that mark. The Titans know they need help in this area and have already brought in Adam Humphries this off-season; however, the 5’11” slot receiver is not going to be enough. Metcalf provides a large target for Marcus and can become the red zone threat Mariota has been lacking since he entered the league. At pick No.19, they get a steal if Metcalf falls this far.
No. 22 Baltimore Ravens
Will Metcalf be available at pick 22? It’s not likely. But every year in the draft, someone falls much further than anyone thought. If Metcalf ends up being available at No.22, I think this is a no-brainer for the Ravens. Baltimore is another team who has struggled to find a top wide receiver — really for their entire existence. In fact, their all-time leading receiver is the aforementioned Derrick Mason, who has 5,777 yards … some current receivers have put up more than that in their first six years in the league. Metcalf could very easily come into this organization and be the best wide receiver they have ever had. Pairing him with a young Lamar Jackson seems like the perfect fit. It may be unlikely that Metcalf makes it this far but stranger things have happened on draft day.
D.K. Metcalf is one of — if not the most — polarizing player in this year’s draft. Some teams have him as their top wide receiver on the board; others reportedly grade him as a round three prospect. However, it only takes one team to take a chance on their board and take Metcalf’s name off of everyone else’s. It’s our bet he’ll go in the first round to one of these five clubs.
Stay tuned for part two of ‘Where Will They Land’ as I break down potential landing spots for Mississippi State star pass rusher Montez Sweat.