One of the biggest declaration dominoes fell today, as Ole Miss WR D.K. Metcalf has officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.
I have enjoyed my time at Ole Miss, gaining brothers and a family, now it’s time for me to pursue my dreams of playing in the NFL. I want to thank the University, my coaches, and teammates, but most importantly my family for helping me through this process. #HottyToddy #GodsPlan
— DK Metcalf (@dkmetcalf14) November 23, 2018
For NFL teams, this is great news. The redshirt sophomore wideout tapped into our consensus board at No. 13 overall due to his incredible trait profile — height, weight, speed, length — and his downfield ability to track and attack the football. While his stock may drop with long-term injury concerns as a result of the neck injury, Metcalf’s tape holds up against anyone else in the class as a potential Round 1 pick at wide receiver.
The neck injury was suffered in a Week 7 win against Arkansas, ending Metcalf’s 2018 season at 26 catches, 569 yards (21.9 YPC), and a team-leading 5 touchdowns. Metcalf represents a key point of contention between film heads and stat heads, as Metcalf doesn’t offer incredible production within the scope of Ole Miss’s prolific passing offense; A.J. Brown is the primary target therein. He’ll leave school young (turns 21 in December) and full of promise; all it takes is selling one team on that idea, and he’ll go Round 1.
Metcalf’s declaration does tip the hand of the advisory board, a little bit. He’s a super young, not overly productive, injured player — a lot of his profile indicates a return to school was in the cards. Metcalf’s decision to declare, while likely also indicates he’s ready to go pro and start making money, also indicates he likely got a strong grade from the advisory board: that he would get drafted highly despite the injury and production.
Metcalf most prepare for the Combine now, both in terms of rehab from his injury and for athletic testing. He’s a physical freak, so he may focus on rehab to pass medical checks and test in just a little worse than we expect. I hardly imagine it would submarine his stock or anything like that.
With Metcalf declaring, also expect teammate A.J. Brown to declare — Metcalf and Brown are very tightly knit. Ole Miss will also lose senior QB Jordan Ta’amu, senior WR DaMarkus Lodge, and is at risk of losing junior TE Dawson Knox and OT Greg Little at well. The offensive drain will strike the Rebels dearly after this season.
For now, expect teams to start generating more firm opinions on Metcalf’s tape, as he’s officially entering the Draft. Most NFL sources preferred Brown to Metcalf coming into the season, but staff here would take Metcalf over Brown — and Ledyard, our SEC guy, would even consider Lodge over Brown as well.