BY Art Thiel 12:23AM 04/27/2019

Thiel: Pete bares chest, Metcalf bares his soul

Faced with a shirtless D.K. Metcalf at the combine, Pete Carroll responded in kind. The far better deed was drafting Metcalf to give the Seahawks a long-sought big receiver.

At the team’s interview room in an Indianapolis hotel, Pete Carroll tried to match the bare-chested challenge of D.K. Metcalf. Didn’t work. / Seahawks.com

D.K. Metcalf recalled meeting Pete Carroll at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

“He was surprised at how big I was,” he told a reporter. Indeed, Carroll was startled by the shirtless incredible hulk before him.

“Kinda pissed me off,” Carroll said, smiling. “So I took my shirt off. Not for long, though.”

Someone on the Seahawks staff arranged the partial disrobing of the draft’s most remarkable athlete, setting up the surprise for Carroll. Must have left the desired impression.

Instead of trading down again in Friday’s second round, general manager John Schneider expended two picks in the third round to move up and get the round’s final choice (64th overall) and grab the Greek god Metcalf.

The redshirt sophomore from Mississippi was the talk of the combine — a sculpted 6-4, 230-pounder who ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, leaped 40 vertical inches, and had 1.9 percent body fat. Mock drafts had Metcalf as a first-round selection, some in the top 15.

But the first day came and went without his name called. Was he too big? Too inflexible? Not a good enough football player?

When the second round was nearly completed without a phone call, Metcalf, at his parents’ home in Oxford, Miss., was a mess.

Then he saw the 425 area code his phone. Schneider had him at hello.

“It hit him really hard,” he said. “That’s who he is, an all-in guy. He puts his head down and works his tail off. He was really emotional.”

See and hear for yourself:

Amid the choking blurts was was one audible comment: “Why did you take so long?”

Carroll, who said he teared up himself, understood.

“He was emotional about the wait, in anticipation of the pick,” he said. “It was hard on him. Challenged him.

“He was excited and grateful, but you couldn’t help but feel his emotions. It was no surprise.”

The real surprise was that so many teams were scared. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but the Seahawks’ desperate search for a big receiver had gone on so long, it prevailed over apprehension about his limitations.

“We have not had that guy,” Carroll said. “We’ve been attempting to find that guy, because it is a real factor, if it fits right. The split-end spot, if a guy can do a good job of beating whoever he’s going against, then you can have a real weapon. We’ve loved it over the years. D.K. has the opportunity to be that type of player.”

The scouting reports said his testing showed he lacked top-end agility, had an under-developed route tree, a couple of injuries (foot in 2016, neck in 2018), lacked polish and had concentration-related drops.

All fixable with work, Carroll said.

“He’s equipped to do a lot of stuff,” he said. Not just in the throwing game, but in the running game too. He’s going to be a big factor for us as a team that loves to run the football. He going to be able to help us in the play-action game. He releases off the line of scrimmage with great violence. He’s one of the great starters in the draft.

“The (college) offense wasn’t designed to do that stuff. He was basically the downfield guy. There’s development to be had here. We’re not worried about it at all.  We’re gonna go to his strengths and max those first, then build.”

Metcalf sounded ready for it, mostly because he has grown weary of being considered merely a specimen.

“My life has changed because of people taking notice of what I’ve been able to do with my body and my numbers,” he said via teleconference. “It’s time for me to show just what kind of football player I am.

“I feel like I’m a complete receiver. I can run routes, I can catch the ball and I love blocking.”

Metcalf has a good genetic heritage. His father, Terrence, was an offensive tackle for seven years with the Chicago Bears. And he is a second cousin to a Seattle sports legend, Terry Metcalf. A 1969 graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School, he starred at Long Beach State before an eight-year pro career that began with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

He’s also related to former Browns running back Eric Metcalf, who had a 13-year NFL career and was a two-time All-Pro in Cleveland.

The other freakish thing Friday, other than drafting in the second round SS Marquise Blair and in the third LB Cody Barton, both off the same University of Utah defense, was a continuation of trading picks so that the Seahawks still have ammo for Saturday’s third and final day. They have five choices:

  • Round 4, 114
  • Round 4, 124
  • Round 4, 132
  • Round 5, 142
  • Round 6, 209

Monday, Schneider groused about having just four picks at the time. But the Tuesday trade of Frank Clark for the Chiefs’ first-round pick set in motion a sequence of events that has given the Seahawks an unexpectedly decisive play in the 2019 bazaar.

“Having the extra (No. 1) starting off, just gave John the flexibility to do a bunch of stuff and changed the whole complexion of our draft,” Carroll said. “It’s the result of experience and understanding how to do it. I think this is a marvelous turnaround for where we were. The opportunities were there, and John and his guys just clicked to nail them. Just look at the trades just today. And there’s more fun (Saturday).”

Carroll is likely to keep his shirt on Saturday. But that doesn’t mean he and Schneider  won’t be pantsing more teams.

 


YourThoughts

  • jafabian

    Don’t know if I can unsee a shirtless Pete Carroll. I don’t see Mike Holmgren doing this.

    Metcalf has everything the Seahawks brain trust likes, including having a chip on his shoulder. Can’t wait to see him one-on-one with a DB. Especially after he gets a year under his belt. Sports Illustrated was very high on the Seahawks making this selection.

    • art thiel

      Carroll keeps himself in good shape. It’s the rest of us I don’t want to see.

      Metcalf has much to learn, but the Seahawks have always emphasized development. Look at Baldwin and Tate, great athletes who mastered techniques, which took time.

  • Talkjoc

    Great work as always Art. Haven’t heard a peep about O-linemen. Any insight? Free agent route on those?

    • Archangelo Spumoni

      Mr. Talkjoc
      I have a new favorite draftee: Phil Haynes, G, Wake Forest, 6’4″, 322″, 31″ vert.
      From elsewhere:
      “Initial contact into defender carries noticeable pop.
      Works for early punch-and-extend wins with hands in both run and pass game.
      Impressive hand grip strength.” Etc.
      We all know it takes much for players to succeed in the NFL, but I certainly can live with the “carries noticeable pop” part and said pop must be music to tailback ears universally. HAR HAR HAR.

      • art thiel

        With Iupati, pop goes the knee.

    • art thiel

      My man Spumoni below has a scouting report on the 4th round pick. Carroll said he’s a mauler and a leader. They needed a youngm big guard more reliable than Pocic. Fluker and newcomer FA Mike Iupati have long injury histories.

  • DJ

    Thanks Art! Metcalf is a pretty exciting selection. I don’t recall hearing he’s got soft hands, but I’m trusting he’s got a pretty good catch radius. Here’s to hoping his durability can top a Brandon Marshall career, and be a similar threat – with better separation. We know that Pete’s always wanted someone like this, but has made due well with tall/fast/skinny, and especially short/fast/tricky receivers. I guess it’s never too late. If Metcalf makes the field, this could be quite a different look on offense, especially with Will Dissly, hopefully back and fully operational. Lot’s of willing and effective blocking, great target choices for Russ right off the snap, and tough to bring down. It’s already an intriguing 2019 – GO HAWKS!

    • art thiel

      In his limited college career, Metcalf did have some issues with drops. That can be fixable with a full-time commitment.

  • Warchild_70

    Let’s hope the pedigree of D K shines through. I like his physic, of course, so I’ll wait until the pads go on and hope to see the bodies on the field!

    • art thiel

      He is in fact a second cousin to Franklin High’s Terry Metcalf.