Philadelphia Eagles: Remember, DK Metcalf can’t change direction

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

It’s too bad DK Metcalf can’t change direction, otherwise, he could have been a serious asset to the Philadelphia Eagles’ non-existent passing offense.

Week 12 was a certified stat sheet stuffer for JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

Finally given a chance to play the ‘x-receiver’ spot in a game without both Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 6-foot-2 rookie out of Stanford went off for 43 yards on two catches – easily his best performance to date as a pro.

Arcega-Whiteside also led all rookies in receiving yards, outpacing Greg Ward by three yards on four more catches, and Seattle’s second-round rookie receiver DK Metcalf by eight yards.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

That has not been typical.

Through the first 11 weeks of the season, Metcalf has been among the most intriguing wide receivers in the NFL regardless of years of experience. Weighing in at 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, Metcalf has amassed 595 and five touchdowns on only 35 catches, all the while providing Russell Wilson with a reliable vertical option on the outside.

And to think, he could have been an Eagle.

Now sure, this narrative is pretty worn at this point, as everyone and their mother will tell you that drafting JJAW seven picks before Metcalf was a mistake – but you know, sometimes, things are classic for a reason.

Metcalf is a towering receiver with a large catch radius and a blazing fast 4.31 40 yard dash. Think about that for a second. He’s taller, and weighs more than Trey Burton, but runs as fast, if not faster, than DeSean Jackson.

Granted, his college production wasn’t all that impressive – 1,228 yards and 14 touchdowns on 67 catches – but neither was Ole Miss‘ offense as a whole. When Calvin Johnson came out of college, scouts had similar questions about his fit in an NFL offense after a successful stint at Georgia Tech, and we all know how that turned out.

So, you may ask, why wasn’t Metcalf a sure-fire first-round pick, or at least a slam dunk selection at 47 overall?

Easy, he can’t change direction.

While Metcalf is beyond fast and is built like 2019 Giannis Antetokounmpo, he ran an absolutely putrid 7.38 3 cone drill, the third-worst mark of any receiver in this year’s class. For those uninitiated, the 3 cone drill is meant to test a player’s lateral quickness, which is kind of important when playing wide receiver. By putting up an unusually slow time, some fans questioned whether Metcalf would be able to effectively run a full route tree, and become more than a one-trick pony at the NFL level.

Based on Metcalf’s performance against the Eagles’ secondary, his third-worst statistical game of the season, I would say those questions have been answered.

In his first of presumably many trips to Lincoln Financial Field wearing navy blue and green, Metcalf looked the part of a true number one receiver. Facing off against the Birds’ much-improved collection of cornerbacks, Metcalf played big, made a sweet contested catch against Ronald Darby, and even jumped over Jalen Mills for a late first down.

Had he not dropped a pair of wide-open potential touchdowns in double coverage, it’s entirely possible the Linc’s parking lot would have been cleared out before the end of the third quarter, instead of stringing along their desperate fans for a full 60 minutes of heartbreaking false starts and missteps.

But hey, at least Arcega-Whiteside had a career day, right? In one game, JJAW doubled his career yards from 43 to 86 yards on only five targets, a sign that maybe he isn’t a lost cause after all.

dark. Next. Jake Elliott is having a career year under our noses

However, after watching D.K. Metcalf surpass 86 yards in a single game twice this season, it’s becoming harder and harder to say that the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t make a grave mistake passing on the jumbo-sized vertical threat when they had the chance. Who needs a potential Rookie of the Year when you have a backup for Alshon Jeffery.