First let’s get the disclaimers out of the way. It’s rookie minicamp, so the level of competition isn’t what it will be when veterans return to work. Also, players aren’t in pads, and in the name of player safety, defensive backs aren’t allowed to fight for contested balls. So no, this isn’t the same as regular-season football, or even as training camp.
OK, now that we got all of that out of the way, we can talk about rookie receiver DK Metcalf, who has looked awfully impressive two days into rookie minicamp.
Metcalf, a second-round pick and the player Seahawks general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll said they were most surprised to be able to draft where they selected him, became something of an offseason sensation this winter, first because of a viral photo of his chiseled physique, and then because of his performance at the NFL scouting combine where at 6-foot-4, 229 pounds he ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 40.5 inches, a broad jump of 134 inches, and completed 27 reps on the bench press.
But over the past two days what Metcalf has been demonstrating is that he’s more than just an exceptionally big and fast player who can stretch a defense on go-routes.
As he put it, Metcalf is showing that he’s “a complete receiver. I can run routes, block, and catch the football.”
Asked after one day of practice what excited him the most about Metcalf, Carroll said, “Well, it’s almost like, what doesn’t, you know? I mean, he’s big and he’s fast. He’s got really good feet, and his catching range was exhibited today for a start. We’ve got to figure it out, figure out where it is. He’s maybe even more unique than we thought coming in. So we just develop it as we go. But big and really fast and the catching range was really obvious today.”
Those really good feet Metcalf has displayed are the result not just of natural athleticism, but also due to the work he put in this offseason with Jerry Sullivan, a longtime receivers coach at the NFL and college level who retired from fulltime coaching, but who still helps train receivers preparing for the draft.
“He has been coached up well, he had a tremendous off season working with Jerry Sullivan, one of the great receiver coaches in the history of the NFL,” Carroll said. “And I’m not taking anything away from where he was. I just know what we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing the guy work really hard at it, getting down and getting in and out of his breaks and stuff. Yeah, he looks like he’s ready to compete.
Metcalf said Sullivan’s teaching included, “Don't lean into my routes, try to stay straight as long as possible, when I break down be decisive in doing that. Then make every route look the same when you come off the ball.”
That hard work combined with rare speed and size has allowed Metcalf to get off to an impressive start in rookie minicamp, though he and the Seahawks know there’s still plenty of work to be done between now and the start of the season.
“There’s never been a guy that ran any faster that was that big and strong at the combine, so he’s got all those things behind him,” Carroll said. “He’s got to go fight and figure out how to play football now.”
And yes, Metcalf was asked about the now famous video of Carroll taking his shirt off in response to Metcalf walking into his combine interview with the Seahawks shirtless.
“It was funny,” Metcalf said. “I didn't expect him to take his shirt off, but it just showed the type of person he was off the field. He wasn't just a hard-nosed football coach, he had a personality too.”
Photos from Day 2 of Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.