2022 NFL Draft First Look: John Metchie

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It’s an exciting week for college football fans, as the first games of the 2021 season will be played this Saturday. For that, stay tuned for my 2022 NFL Draft pre-season top 20 big board and fellow scout Alex Greb and I’s “way too early” mock draft later this week. For now though we are checking out yet another player in this First Look series: Alabama’s 6’0″ 195 lb. wide receiver John Metchie. With Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith now NFL players, will John Metchie be the next Alabama wide receiver selected in the first round? I say yes. Let’s dive into the tape to see why!

Strengths: Metchie is an athletically gifted receiver who excels at all three levels. In the short game, Metchie is a good option with good run after the catch ability given his quickness, elusiveness, and intelligence on what paths to take towards the first down marker with the ball in his hands. Metchie excels at the intermediate level as well. His crisp, sudden route running allows him to gain a step or two of separation, even in tight quarters. Metchie works the middle of the field fearlessly. He is also dangerous on vertical routes, adding solid deep speed to his high-level route running to gain separation. Metchie tracks the ball and adjusts to it well to make the catch downfield. He also excels at setting up defenders with double moves. Despite not being the biggest receiver, Metchie is tough and surprisingly strong. He works through route contact well. Metchie has quick, effective footwork, solid hand strength, and the burst to beat press coverage. He is highly reliable catching the ball, with very few drops on tape. Metchie is a very good blocker, showing exemplary effort. His blocks led to many big gains for other Alabama wide receivers. Metchie offers valuable versatility to line up in the slot or on the perimeter, and he should be able to do so in the NFL as well. 

Weaknesses: Metchie is not a big, physically imposing receiver, which limits his game. He does not excel in contested catch situations, as he does not have the body type or mentality and play style to be a “go up and get it” receiver on 50/50 balls. Metchie is quick and elusive with the ball in his hands but lacks lower body strength to break tackles. Arm tackles often work to bring him down. Metchie has yet to produce as a WR1 on his team, though this is understandable considering the recent talent to come out of the Alabama wide receiver room.

Bottom Line: I like Metchie quite a bit and believe he is in the same tier as the other top receivers in this wide receiver class that currently presents several very good options but no elite top ten talent. His NFL ceiling is capped given that contested catch situations are not something he excels at and may never be, but Metchie is a highly reliable and skilled receiver nonetheless who wins at all three levels with quick, sudden route-running and sure hands. He checks a lot of boxes that NFL coaches will appreciate as well, such as blocking and toughness. With Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle departed to the NFL, it is Metchie’s time to shine and I believe he will produce a fantastic season as Alabama’s WR1 that will put firmly in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft with a highly productive NFL career awaiting.

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Sources:

  1. Cover Image: https://rolltide.com/sports/football/roster/john-metchie-iii/7279

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