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:
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 27, 2019
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.