Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen should thrive in Kevin O’Connell‘s offense, but the Minnesota Vikings could use a bona fide WR3. K.J. Osborn filled in nicely last year, but O’Connell probably needs a better third receiver to maximize his offense. Alabama’s John Metchie III, who is likely to be drafted in the second or third round, is one of the most underrated players in the draft and would be a great fit.
Jameson Williams‘ emergence overshadowed Metchie in 2021. Williams is now near the top of many scouts’ draft boards, but don’t let Williams’ fantastic season distract from Metchie’s achievements.
Metchie’s versatility will endear him to KOC. Wide receivers need to line up everywhere in the O’Connell offense, and Metchie excels at that. Because Alabama was stacked at wide receiver during his time in Tuscaloosa, Metchie had to plug in and play at many different positions. At 5’11”, 187 lbs., Metchie will mostly fill the slot role in the NFL. But he’s not strictly a slot receiver.
With Williams taking most of Alabama’s deep passes, Metchie primarily ran shorter-to-intermediate routes in 2021 and was great at it. He is a precise route runner and makes very sharp cuts, exactly what you look for in an NFL slot receiver.
Metchie’s timing on shorter routes is excellent. He puts himself in great position to catch the ball, making it easier on the quarterback. However, don’t let this fool you. Metchie has great deep-ball ability and can take the top of the defense.
Metchie proved how valuable he was against Auburn this year. Williams got ejected for targeting, and Metchie found himself as the undisputed WR1 in Alabama’s most important regular-season game. The game ended in one of the most historic plays in the team’s history. Metchie caught the game-winning two-point conversion that sealed the win for the Crimson Tide after four overtimes.
He made that catch against Auburn’s Rodger McCreary, a top-rated cornerback in this year’s draft.
Metchie’s injury in the SEC championship is the biggest knock on him. He tore his ACL and didn’t work out at the combine because of it.
With how much emphasis gets placed on combine stats, Metchie will likely go lower than his tape and talent merit. Metchie’s injury will probably make him a second- or early third-rounder.
Another knock on Metchie is that nothing stands out about him. Besides his very technical route running, no one particular aspect of his game is especially noteworthy.
Many are using this as a knock on Metchie because of how statistical and combine-performance-based the draft is. He’s a perfect example of why the combine statistics matter too much. Metchie has proven on the field that he can be a valuable asset, and he has done so at a high level.
If the Vikings draft Metchie, he would be introduced into a talented receiver room like he had at Alabama, and he would have to carve out a role. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before, and he has given no reason that he can’t do it again.
In 2019, Metchie played next to DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle. Still, he didn’t transfer and ultimately benefitted from that decision.
After Jaylen Waddle went down with an injury a year later, Metchie stepped in and filled in nicely. He hauled in 916 yards on just 55 receptions and had six touchdowns.
Metchie was set to be Alabama’s WR1 in 2021. However, Jameson Williams transferred from Ohio State and stole some of the spotlight. Still, Metchie had a productive year, mostly running shorter routes. He finished with 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns.
Metchie would fill into the KOC offense well. His versatility and short route prominence are tremendous assets that can help add a more fluid passing dynamic to Minnesota’s offense. With how much Kirk Cousins likes to dump the ball off, adding an impact player in the middle rounds like Metchie would come with little risk.