DK Metcalf rose to superstardom in 2020, a step forward that wasn't entirely unexpected given how explosive he burst out onto the NFL scene as a draft prospect. Eclipsing the Seahawks' single-season record for most receiving yards with a mark of 1,303—the seventh-highest total in the league last year—the third-year wideout has already etched his name in the history books.
The scary part for the rest of the league? Like Frieza in Dragon Ball Z, it's possible Metcalf has yet to reach his ultimate form. His physical uniqueness has been well-documented since his breakout at the 2019 NFL combine, but now he's erased all doubt about his ability to produce at the highest level.
So where does he go from here after accomplishing so much early on in his professional career? Personally speaking, I think Metcalf could establish himself as the best receiver in the game this year. Here are five reasons why.
1. Natural Growth
The first reason is an easy and obvious conclusion to come to. Heading into year three for him, Metcalf naturally has more seasoning as he continues to master his craft. He's made great strides in becoming a more well-rounded receiver from a route running perspective over the past two years and has developed a stellar rapport with quarterback Russell Wilson. His understanding of the game, the dos and do-nots and what his role entails has grown immensely. More comfortable in his ability, more comfortable in the system and more comfortable in his expectations, Metcalf can just let it rip this year.
2. The Presence of Shane Waldron
New offensive coordinator Shane Waldron hails from a Rams offense known for being elite at scheming receivers open. Hoping to take what he learned in Los Angeles and apply it to Seattle's talented offense, Waldron could be exactly what Metcalf needs to take another massive step forward in his game. Not that he has any issues getting open, or even making plays with defensive backs around him, but the sky's the limit for Metcalf with any extra advantage to find pockets in the defense. Affording him more space could also help him create after the catch more efficiently, something he and the rest of the Seahawks' receiving corps were fairly mediocre at in 2020.
3. D'Wayne Eskridge's Versatility
Another reason the game can open up even further for Metcalf is the arrival of rookie receiver D'Wayne Eskridge, who can line up—and play effectively—both in the slot and on the outside. Eskridge gives the Seahawks legitimate upside they simply lacked behind Metcalf and Tyler Lockett the past two seasons, providing yet another speed-demon opposing defenses will have no choice but to respect. Metcalf lined up in the slot 16.6 percent of the time last year, but he could see that number go up if Waldron does indeed mix-and-match with his top three receivers. While lateral movement isn't necessarily Metcalf's calling card, he's improved on in-breaking routes and can use his Hulk-like build to dominate the middle of the field.
4. The Emphasis on Tempo and a Quick Passing Game
If the Seahawks follow through on their wishes to implement faster tempo into their offense, Metcalf could be the biggest benefactor. With his speed and size combo, they'll want to get the ball in his hands, running downfield with a head full of steam as much as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with the versatility of Eskridge and the matchups Waldron can create. Perhaps it's an over exaggeration to say the possibilities are endless, but there's a very high ceiling for players like Metcalf if it all comes together.
5. Red Zone Potential
Speaking of matchups, it's likely teams will zero in on Metcalf whenever the Seahawks are in the red zone. But that also takes the attention off the likes of newcomer Gerald Everett and the sure-handed, 6-foot-7 Colby Parkinson. If either or both players start to make noise down near the goal line, defenses will eventually be forced to spread the love, if you will, and theoretically come off Metcalf a bit. Not many defenses will have the bodies to keep all of Seattle's weapons in check, thus paving the way for Metcalf to top his five red zone scores from last season.