The Seattle Seahawks drafted DK Metcalf in the second round with the 64th overall pick. Unless there were more medical concerns than what were leaked out throughout the draft process, this was the definition of the NFL galaxy-braining themselves. Metcalf was a top-150 high school recruit, had 646 yards as a redshirt freshman in the SEC, and was near the top of efficiency leaderboards in his final season at Ole Miss (13.9 yards per target). The only concern with his high school and college resume was his missed game totals, but his per-game numbers more than made up for that. In most draft analyst's minds, all Metcalf had to do to in order to lock in a first-round pick was shred the 2019 NFL Combine, which he did:
6-foot-3 (87th percentile at the position)
228 pounds (95th percentile)
4.33 forty-yard dash (95th percentile)
40.5-inch vertical jump (93rd percentile)
134-inch broad jump (97th percentile)
There was one issue: his agility scores. Metcalf ran a 7.38-second three-cone (second percentile) and a 4.5-second short shuttle (third percentile). He was mocked for his inability to change directions and move laterally, but his poor agility scores didn’t come as a surprise to many draft analysts - his tape showed these things. The question for me was not if this was a problem - it definitely is a negative - but “would the problem matter?” This is where analytics can be our friends, folks.
I gathered NFL Combine and NFL production data to analyze which athletic tests matter for not only different positions but for different types of players within positions. This little distinction is a major key because there are differences between the things a small slot receiver does and the things an oversized deep threat does. The results of my study on receivers were notable. Out of all athletic tests, NFL production for receivers who stood at over 6-foot-2 has historically been most tied to the 40-yard dash and the broad jump (burst and speed), while agility scores have shown no predictive power. This is why NFL teams should have ignored Metcalf’s poor agility scores. Those drills simply don’t measure the things Metcalf was going to be tasked with doing in the NFL. Instead, Metcalf was going to be asked to run verticals and long crosses, routes he just ran with massive success in the Seahawks’ Wild Card win over the Eagles.
The New Age of NFL Quarterbacks
The era of elite largely immobile pocket passers is coming to an end and are being replaced by more athletic, creative quarterbacks. It’s a fun change and great news for NFL fans. This group of quarterbacks should be in the hunt for Super Bowls in the 2020s with more athletic quarterbacks coming from the college ranks:
AFC’s Remaining Quarterbacks
Lamar Jackson (Age: Almost 23) - Ravens vs. TEN
Patrick Mahomes (Age: 24) - Chiefs vs. HOU
Deshaun Watson (Age: 24) - Texans @ KC
Ryan Tannehill (Age: 31) - Titans @ BAL
NFC’s Remaining Quarterbacks
Jimmy Garoppolo (Age: 28) - 49ers vs. MIN
Aaron Rodgers (Age: 36) - Packers vs. SEA
Russell Wilson (Age: 31) - Seahawks @ GB
Kirk Cousins (Age: 31) - Vikings @ SF
Other Young Promising Quarterbacks:
Dak Prescott (Age: 26), Kyler Murray (Age: 22), Carson Wentz (Age: 27), Jameis Winston??? (Age: almost 26), Sam Darnold??? (Age: 22), Jared Goff??? (Age: 25), Baker Mayfield??? (Age: almost 25), Josh Allen??? (Age: 23), Drew Lock??? (Age: 23), Daniel Jones??? (Age: 22)
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett “allowed” Jerry Jones to fire him on Sunday after two decades worth of playing and coaching in Dallas. It was a tiring process but one that was inevitable after the Cowboys were outcoached in nearly every game of 2019. Jones has already interviewed ex-Packers coach Mike McCarthy and ex-Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, although there are college and NFL playoff coaches that will get consideration for the head coaching gig. For fantasy purposes, I’m hoping Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley gets hired. Ian Rapoport said the Cowboys are “taking the temperature” on Riley, whatever that means.
Texans WR Will Fuller (hamstring) and 49ers LB Kwon Alexander (pec) are both expected to play in the Divisional Round next weekend. When Fuller has been on the field, Deshaun Watson has played at an MVP level but has been very average as a passer without him. The Texans play the Chiefs in Kansas City in a week.
Bears RG Kyle Long announced his retirement after an eight-year career. The former No. 20 pick has battled numerous injuries in his four most recent seasons, a stretch that’s limited to just 30-of-64 possible games. Long will enter retirement as a 31-year-old.