Metcalf went with the 64th pick of the 2019 NFL draft. Many teams passed on him at least twice. If the Seattle Seahawks knew Metcalf was a superstar, they showed it in a weird way. They drafted defensive end L.J. Collier and safety Marquise Blair before they took Metcalf.
But it’s the Eagles who get brought up the most when it comes to Metcalf’s draft slide. Eagles fans have heard about it roughly a million times. That’s because Philadelphia drafted receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside before Metcalf. Arcega-Whiteside has 12 catches for 214 yards in his career. Metcalf almost beat that on Monday night, against a Pro Bowl cornerback.
Metcalf destroyed Darius Slay in an easy Seahawks win. He had 10 catches for 177 yards and many of his catches were balls that very few receivers could catch. Metcalf leads the NFL with 1,039 receiving yards. The Seahawks won 23-17 and improved to 8-3. The Eagles are 3-7-1 and going to face more questions about their struggling quarterback Carson Wentz and whether rookie Jalen Hurts will replace him.
Wentz could use a receiver like Metcalf.
Carson Wentz struggles again
This was not a tough matchup for Wentz or the Eagles. The Seahawks’ defense has been better lately, but it was on pace to give up the most passing yards in NFL history. And the Eagles struggled all night.
Wentz is lost, his benching is long overdue, and he was bad again on Monday night. Wentz was 24-of-41 passing for just 157 yards before a final garbage-time drive. He took six sacks. It doesn’t help that Wentz does not have a great receiver to throw to. Arcega-Whiteside hasn’t exactly been the No. 1 target he needs.
Wentz’s struggles have been one of the stories of this NFL season. The quarterback we saw in 2017, who was on track to win an MVP award in his second season, is no longer. Wentz in 2020 holds the ball too long, and if he doesn’t get sacked, he’s usually forcing balls into coverage.
The Eagles drove inside the red zone trailing 20-9 in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia went for it on fourth down, presumably because it had shown practically nothing on offense and felt the need to take a shot at the touchdown instead of settling for a field goal. Wentz threw an interception that was nowhere near an Eagles receiver and hit safety Quandre Diggs in the chest. There was obviously miscommunication on the play, but it was a good example of how far off Wentz has been all year.
Of course, in an alternate universe, he’d have just thrown a jump ball to the unguardable Metcalf.
DK Metcalf takes over the game
Metcalf is a star. There are many, many great receivers in the NFL right now, but it’s justifiable if you’d pick Metcalf over any of them. He’s 22 years old and is too big and fast for any cornerback (Jalen Ramsey might disagree with that). Metcalf should continue to develop. With Russell Wilson throwing him the ball, Metcalf’s best football is in front of him.
The football he’s playing now is pretty impressive. The Eagles mostly matched up three-time Pro Bowler Slay against him on Monday night. Slay gave up 143 yards to Metcalf, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats. He had no chance. Wilson might have been the best player on the field, but Metcalf was a close second. It was reminiscent of the Seahawks’ win over the Eagles in the playoffs last season, when Metcalf had 160 yards.
Metcalf apparently had some extra motivation Monday night, too, courtesy of Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) December 1, 2020
“One of the defensive coaches came up to me [before the game] and it kind of made me mad that he was like, ‘I was in Detroit with Megatron, but you’re not there yet,’” he said. “In my mind, I’m not trying to be Megatron. I’m trying to be me. I had a little chip on my shoulder the whole game.”
Metcalf embraced the chip on his shoulder after the game with a classic retort.
Part of what makes the NFL draft interesting is that any pick can change the fortunes of a franchise. Sometimes a pick changes two franchises. The Seahawks wouldn’t be a Super Bowl contender without Metcalf. Maybe Wentz wouldn’t be close to getting benched if the Eagles had taken Metcalf instead.
Eagles fans must be sick of hearing about Metcalf and Arcega-Whiteside. But it won’t end anytime soon.
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