As an Oakland Raiders fan, there are few times of the year I’ve come to enjoy more than NFL Draft season. While it’s not ideal to love the draft (it’s usually only because you’re drafting high), it remains a season of hope for us and so we embrace it!
As we head towards the draft, we’re launching a series called PICK or PASS in which we’ll analyze a number of prospects believed to be in play when the Raiders are picking — either at the back end of the first round or at pick No. 4 — and determine whether we’d want the Raiders to pick or pass on the player. You’ll notice that over the course of the series a number of players will receive the ‘pick’ designation — this simply means I’d be content with Oakland selecting the player.
You may recognize this series from SB Nation’s SilverAndBlackPride.com — that’s because I launched this idea there in 2014 and ran it up until leaving there to write here! If you’ve got guys you’d like us to cover at some point, leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to do a break-down.
To launch the series we’re going to start with the guy who might be the most talked about non-quarterback in the draft right now: Ole Miss wide receiver DK Metcalf.
Bench Press: 27 reps
Vertical jump: 40.5″
Broad jump: 134″
College stats: 21 games, 67 catches, 1,228 yards, 14 TD
For me, Metcalf is not only the most talked-about guy, but he’s also the most polarizing. In fact, when I saw that The Athletic’s Vic Tafur mocked Metcalf to the Raiders at No. 4 in their beat writer draft, I just about lost my mind. So what is it about Metcalf that doesn’t have me drinking the Kool-Aid?
For starters, his college stats are a massive red flag for a couple of reasons — first because of the apparent injuries, and second because of the sheer lack of production.
In 2016 as a freshman, Metcalf broke his foot in the second game of the season and missed the final 10 games. In 2017, Metcalf got a full 12-game season under his belt, but last season he was back on the trainer’s table, missing the final five games of the season with a neck injury. To have missed nearly one-third of his college games is a concern for me.
Even when he was on the field, however, the production doesn’t scream “top-five-pick!” to me. Last season, had he played in all 12 games, he was on pace for 45 catches for 975 yards and 8.5 touchdowns — which is pretty impressive — but it would have been his only season of serious production!
All of that aside, I get the hype with Metcalf — he’s big and he’s fast, but in a draft full of good-but-not-great wide receivers, I wonder if people are trying to create a true No. 1 receiver when there isn’t one. If I’m the Raiders, I don’t even think about calling Metcalf’s name with my first pick and it’ll be the easiest decision I make all weekend.