The 2020 NFL season has served as a coming-out party of sorts for DK Metcalf.
After a productive rookie season that saw him make 58 catches for 900 yards and seven touchdowns last year, Metcalf has nearly matched all of his 2019 production through just nine games this season.
The second-year player has 45 grabs to date on the year, currently ranks fourth in yards (816) and yards per game (90.7), and is tied for second in the league in touchdowns with eight.
Metcalf's arrival goes beyond the stat sheet, though. On a seemingly weekly basis, he makes one or two eye-popping plays that set him apart from other players on the field. There was the game-winning touchdown catch against the Vikings with 15 seconds on the clock. The 46-yard touchdown against the 49ers on what looked like a simple, routine crossing route, which even caused LeBron James to take notice.
Then there was the incredible chase-down tackle of Cardinals safety Budda Baker that saved a touchdown on Sunday Night Football. "He got me — that's the first time I've ever been hawked in my entire life," Baker said after the game.
Video clips and images of Metcalf's sprint to catch Baker went viral on social media, and the play has even been talked about as one of the most impressive non-scoring plays in NFL history.
David Fleming wrote about Metcalf and his path to NFL stardom in ESPN’s latest Cover Story. It looks back on Metcalf's childhood as the son of former NFL offensive lineman Terrence Metcalf, the frightening neck injury he suffered while playing at Ole Miss, and the relationship he built with Russell Wilson during the offseason that has parlayed into one of the best QB-WR duos in the league.
"...Metcalf burst onto the scene as the viral (and often shirtless) star of the 2019 combine and the eventual second-round pick of the Seahawks," Fleming writes. "And in Seattle, a perfect storm of ingredients -- the Seahawks' veteran leadership, Metcalf's upbringing as the son of an NFL lineman and a budding telepathy with Wilson that was buoyed by a strange (but effective) offseason bonding ritual -- have created a generational talent who is now eyeing NFL immortality."
Fleming talks about the time Metcalf and Wilson spent together in the offseason, during which Wilson taught Metcalf how to swim and the two golfed together. "We played a bunch of golf," Wilson said earlier this month. "He thinks he's Tiger Woods now all of a sudden. It's like, 'Hold on, hold on!' He hits one good shot off the tee and he thinks he's driving the ball 350 all of a sudden, he feels like he's the best."
Wilson has said that he wants his connection with Metcalf to be like that of the legendary Joe Montana and Jerry Rice.
"I think he's got the work ethic of greats like Jerry Rice," Wilson said. "Not just the game part, but how you practice. And I think that's how DK is, he's got a tremendous work ethic at practice, he's got a tremendous work ethic in the offseason … He's one of my best friends."
The ESPN story also goes in-depth on the neck injury Metcalf suffered at Ole Miss — a big reason why Metcalf was still available when the Seahawks were on the clock with the 64th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Leading up to the draft, there were also questions around Metcalf's agility and route running ability after posting less-than-impressive three-cone and short shuttle times during the Scouting Combine.
"For a while, Metcalf used the perceived draft slight as motivation, even posting the number (64) in his new Seattle locker," Fleming writes. "It's a hard thing to process, being rejected 63 times in a row, most of it captured on live TV, by the thing you love more than anything else in the world. But the first step in Metcalf's whirlwind transformation was how quickly he was able to accept just how fortuitous a fall it was."
In July, Metcalf made his debut on NFL Network’s Top 100 Players list, coming in at 81. One would imagine that his impressive 2020 season will earn him an even higher ranking when the list comes out again next summer.
A look back at some of the best photos of Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf from the 2019 season.