Seahawks Offseason Profile: DK Metcalf
With the offseason underway, it’s time to look back upon one of the best rookie performances in Seahawks franchise history.
Following the retirement of long-time star receiver Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks needed to provide their Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson with another reliable weapon to be featured in their passing game.
Aside from Tyler Lockett, Seattle didn’t have anyone else on their roster who could immediately fill Baldwin’s shoes on offense. Preparing for life without Baldwin, the Seahawks would need to draft a receiver during the early rounds of the 2019 NFL draft.
After Seattle drafted safety Marquise Blair 47th overall, the team decided to trade back into the second round by sending a third-round pick and a fourth-round draft pick to New England for the 64th overall pick to select gigantic receiver DK Metcalf out of Ole Miss.
Let’s revisit some of the good and the bad from Metcalf’s rookie campaign, along with a prediction of how next season may play out for the rising star receiver.
What Went Right
Despite suffering a season-ending neck injury during his final season with the Rebels, the Seahawks were convinced Metcalf could make a significant impact during his first year in the NFL. Luckily for the franchise, their prediction of Metcalf’s performance paid off in a big way for their offense last season.
Overall, Metcalf made 15 starts for Seattle and caught 58 of his 100 targets for 900 yards along with seven touchdown receptions. As a result, he finished second in catches, third in receiving yards, and tied for the third-most touchdowns among all rookie receivers, according to NFL.com.
Though he played well in the first half of the season, Metcalf truly started to become an integral part of Seattle’s passing game during a 27-20 victory over Atlanta in Week 8. In that game, two of his three catches resulted in touchdowns, with both of them coming during the first half as the Seahawks built a 24-0 lead.
After catching just 50 percent of his targets and catching just two touchdowns through the first seven games of the season, Metcalf improved his catch rate to 63.3 percent and caught five touchdown passes during the final nine games of the regular season.
Metcalf continued to shine in the postseason, as he made 11 receptions for 219 yards and hauled in a touchdown catch in Seattle's two playoff games. In his playoff debut, he made history by setting a new rookie single-game record with 160 receiving yards in the Seahawks 17-9 wild card win over the Eagles.
What Went Wrong
While Metcalf had a strong finish to his opening season in the NFL, the former second-round pick struggled to form a consistent connection with Wilson during the first half of the season, particularly on fade routes.
Without question, Metcalf’s worst performance of the year came during the Seahawks’ 27-10 road win against the Cardinals in Week 4. During Seattle’s opening drive in the first quarter, he failed to bring in the football on both of his catchable targets in the end zone, forcing his team to settle for a field goal. Overall, he caught just one of his four targets for just six receiving yards in the game.
Metcalf also struggled with ball security-related issues, tying for 11th in the NFL with seven dropped passes, according to FoxSports.com. In addition, he also finished tied for the third-most fumbles lost (3) during the season, according to pro-football-reference.com, including a critical fourth-quarter fumble against the Ravens in a 30-16 loss.
As a comparison to Metcalf's rookie campaign (see chart below), receivers DeSean Jackson (912), JuJu Smith-Schuster (917), Julio Jones (959), Keenan Allen (1,046), and Amari Cooper (1,070) all produced at least 900 receiving yards during their respective rookie campaigns at 22 years of age or younger.
During their sophomore campaigns, all five of those receivers with the exception of Allen generated at least 1,100 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Each player also saw a decrease in drops from their rookie season.
Based on these progressions, history suggests Metcalf has an excellent chance to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in his second season as a Seahawk as long as he can stay healthy, potentially emerging as a superstar. Past precedent, along with work ethic, also indicates he should be able to improve upon his drops and fumbles, which will only improve his value and production moving forward.