It's more than four years since wideout DK Metcalf was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft by Seattle. The evolution of the Ole Miss alum on and off the field has been a remarkable development, as he continues to etch his name in the record books, while also setting himself apart as a leader in the Seahawks locker room.
In addition to a career-high 90 receptions in 2022, Metcalf notched his second-career 1,000-yard season (1,048) with six receiving touchdowns. Metcalf became just the fifth wideout in league history to record 300 receptions, 4,000 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns in his first four seasons. Heading into this weekend's season opener, Metcalf discussed his expectations for the offense after Seattle added several weapons through free agency and the draft this offseason.
"Just to be the best in the world," said Metcalf. "That's always everybody's goal at the beginning of the season. Then, we work back from there, but just starting out, just trying to be the best offense, running, passing the ball, being the best efficient offense and just putting up the most points, I think that's the best way I can describe it. But you know, with the key additions that we had with Jaxon (Smith-Njigba), Zach (Charbonnet), at the end of the day, I think we have that goal to be attained at the end of the season. So just out there practicing every day going against the defense. You can see that we're going to be an explosive offense. And then the defense is definitely challenging us everyday. We're going to be firing on all cylinders."
With the No. 20 pick in April's draft, Seattle selected wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba to add another dynamic weapon to Seattle's receiver room. An electric offseason from the Ohio State alum in training camp and preseason was nearly foiled when the rookie suffered a slight wrist fracture in August. Just two weeks after the surgery, Smith-Njigba was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. Metcalf discussed the miraculous recovery and what the first-year wideout brings to the table.
"Just shows his commitment," said Metcalf. "I knew he was always going to play week one, just from talking to him around the locker room. He's always a competitive dude who always wants to be out there on the field competing. I know he hated just watching practice on the few days that he had to sit out, so just good to have him back. But I think his mindset is perfect for coming back and playing week one. He's going to have success just by the type of person that he is. He's an automatic baller, natural football player, natural pass catcher, but teams are going to have to pick their poison if they're going to play man against us, or they're going to crowd the box and try to tackle Ken (Walker III) and Zach (Charbonnet) and DeeJay (Dallas) all day. So, I think we got all the weapons on offense it's just up to us if we're going to use them right."
This summer, Metcalf sat down with Bloomberg to discuss his growth as a player and businessman. From being reserved in his early years, to being a voice of reason and guidance for younger players now, Metcalf is taking responsibility in providing guidelines for success for the young pups in the locker room. But he's also still a student of the game, for which fellow wideout Tyler Lockett serves as his "big brother."
"Tyler has been the same person who's been the same big brother to me," Metcalf said. "Just like Bobby (Wagner) has been, just a person that I can always talk to, and lean on and depend on. Last year, he really started stepping up and using his voice and being a very encouraging leader. Giving pregame speeches, it got all the guys ready to play. It just speaks to the volumes of the type of person that he is, and he's always going to go out there and make plays and score on Sunday. So he's just adding to his resume of the type of person that he is."
In his early years, Metcalf had Lockett and other veterans to lean on for help in figuring out life as a professional, from how to conduct himself, to finances. In April, one of Metcalf’s first mentors in Seattle returned to the team, as linebacker Bobby Wagner rejoined the franchise after a year with the Los Angeles Rams. Metcalf reflected on having the 12-year veteran back in the locker room.
"I was just very excited," said Metcalf. "One, he's a familiar face that's been here for a long time and just his energy, his presence, just him being a professional being the professional that he is. We're just happy to have him back. Somebody I can look up to, and somebody who I know will keep me accountable. So, just all those things just in one but mainly I was just excited."
Now, he's taking those lessons learned and paying it forward for the young players on the team looking for advice on how to navigate life in the NFL, while finding ways to use them to get better himself.
"I will say me and Ken (Walker lll)," said Metcalf. "We talk every day and his locker is beside mine, and Jaxon just moved two lockers down from me. So, starting to talk to Jaxon more and more, but I don't try to force myself into a rookie's life. If they come to me and ask questions and are curious about things, then I'll start talking to them. Two people that stick out to me, Jake (Bobo) and Matt (Landers). I'm asking Bobo questions because it looks like he's open every play. I'm asking him how he does it after you ran a 4.9. But Jake Bobo and Matt Landers are two people that are on my radar and should be on (yours)."
Metcalf continued by elaborating on the growth of Bobo, the undrafted UCLA alum by way of Duke University.
"At a position where I thought speed kills or speed wins everything, I was watching—I wasn't here the whole OTAs, so I will pull up my iPad and watch some of the competition periods of seven on seven," Metcalf said. "I'm seeing this white kid getting open every play. I called up Tyler (Lockett), I'm like, 'Who is this? Who is number 19?' He said, 'Oh, that's Bobo man, he's a tall receiver.' Then I got up here and I've seen the way he ran routes and the way he practices, he practices hard harder than me. Like he's more detailed than I ever will be, and I use that as motivation to practice harder and make sure I'm honing into more details because he's doing all the little things right. And you know, he's reaping the benefits of it because he's very consistent every time he lines up on the field. You have to know where 19 is, that's just what I'm going to say off the rip. Watching him I'm very curious how he gets open every time. So, I asked him about his skip release, or I asked him about, 'What do you see here, or what do you see there?' He's just a unique player in my opinion, who's going to make a lot of noise."
Metcalf shares the same belief in his quarterback, Geno Smith, as he prepares for Year 2 as Seattle's starter.
"Just a whole year of wisdom in this offense," said Metcalf. "Playing with pretty much the same offense that we had last year. You're not going to make some of the same mistakes, I'm not going to make some of the same mistakes I made. Tyler, everybody on the offense is just going to be a year wiser, a year older. Our communication has gotten a lot better. From Shane (Waldron) to Geno, from Geno to me, me to Shane (Waldron), everybody around the offense just communicates better. So, I think our communication took a step forward. It's going to help us a lot on the field, and when we go to away games or play at home, or some adversity hits, we're not going to blink, we're just going to keep going."
As Metcalf's role within the franchise continues to grow, the fifth-year wideout remains a student of the game, using those around him to push himself to greater heights. The future is bright, as he continues to shatter the record books and win the hearts of his teammates.
Check out some of the best photos taken of the Seahawks during training camp.