From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling a wide receiver prospect that shined on the biggest stage for a perennial college superpower for the last two seasons, but a recent injury has his draft stock up in the air heading into the 2022 NFL Draft.
#8 John Metchie III, WR, Alabama (Jr.) – 5112, 187 lbs.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|John Metchie III||5112/187||9 1/4||30 5/8||73 3/8|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has acceptable size and length on a strong, well-built frame
— Has lined up all over the formation for the Crimson Tide over the years, being able to play on the perimeter as well as in the slot
— Good burst at the start of his route and seems to have explosive burst out of his breaks down the field
— Does a good job getting out of his stance on the snap and has the ability to stop and start at the top of his routes to create separation
— Can take a hard jab step, drop his shoulders, and flip his hips to get out of his breaks to create separation against coverage
— Loves head faking the defender to get them going one way to get a clean break
— Comes out of his breaks explosively, whipping out and creating instant separation
— Does a great job working off press coverage at the LOS when hand fighting with corners or evading the jam
— Can be a gladiator over the middle of the field, having the competitive edge and strong hands to bring down catches in traffic
— Well-utilized on deep overs and crossing patterns to generate separation
— Has the concentration and body control to win combative catches in the end zone and along the sideline, being able to make the back shoulder catch
— His play strength allows him to battle for balls in contested coverage in the air
— Can stack defenders at the top of his route as he works vertically down the field
— Can be a weapon on WR screens and quick hitters to get him the ball in space to run after the catch
— Understands how to play against zone coverage drops, setting up defenders to cheat one way and finds soft spot in the zone to give his QB a target
— Good runner after the catch in terms of evading tacklers and fighting through contact to pick up additional yardage
— Phenomenal blocker who engages his man aggressively and will run his feet while maintaining his block to and through the whistle
— Has played on punt and kick coverage units as well as on return units as a blocker
— Only has average size and won’t be able to consistently win the jump ball against long, press corners
— Isn’t known for having elite deep speed or sudden quickness as an athlete
— Suffers from the occasional drop when trying to body catch
— Coming off a significant knee injury late into the winter/questions linger whether he will be ready to start the 2022 season
— No notable production as a kick or punt returner
— Junior prospect from Bampton, Canada
— Born in Taiwan before moving to Ghana and eventually to Canada from the age of six until high school
— Traveled to the states to attend St. James School in Hagerstown, MD., before transferring to The Peddie School for his final prep season in NJ
— Earned four-star rankings across the board as a HS recruit
— Played in all 13 games as a true freshman, totaling four catches for 23 yards and adding a tackle on special teams
— Played in all 13 games as a sophomore, earning a larger role when Jaylen Waddle went down to injury and finished the year with 55 receptions for 916 yards (16.7 YPR) and six TDs
— Had a strong final season as a junior, catching 96 passes for 1,142 yards (11.9 YPR) and eight TDs in 13 games played
— All-SEC Second Team in 2021
— Suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the SEC Championship matchup with Georgia as a junior
John Metchie III from Alabama suffered a torn ACL in the SEC Championship game this season against the Georgia Bulldogs, costing him a chance to contribute for the Crimson Tide in their CFP games and a chance at back-to-back titles. However, Metchie managed to put together a strong 2021 performance, building off his breakout season in 2020 to put his name in the conversation of the top WR prospects in this draft class. Metchie’s story of how he got to Alabama is quite unique, traveling across the globe for most of his youth and moving several times as a prep athlete in order to make himself into a highly touted recruit.
When you pop in the tape on Metchie, one thing that immediately sticks out is his ability to generate separation. Everyone is always enamored with freakish size or elite speed, but a receiver’s best trait is his ability to get open against coverage and catch the football. Metchie is an expert in this facet, having a diverse separation package both at the LOS as well as down the field as he breaks out of his route. Here is one example of Metchie getting open at the end of the Auburn game on the whip route, stabbing the ground with his leg to get the defender to cheat inside as he quickly pivots back to the sideline for the game-winning score.
For not having the biggest frame at the WR position, Metchie possesses good play strength as a receiver, runner, and blocker. He knows how to fight off press man coverage at the LOS whether it be with elusiveness or using his hands to fight off the jam like we see on this play against Tennessee where Metchie attacks the corner’s chest then rips off to get a couple steps of separation for the easy TD pass on the slant route.
Metchie can be physical with defenders at the LOS or at the catch point, but also has the quick feet and burst at the top of his route to get coverage defenders frozen in place as he gets out of his break, generating instant separation at the top of his route. Check out this play against Arkansas where Metchie attacks the corner’s cushion after the snap of the ball, getting right on top of his toes and sells the hard jab step outside, cutting back inside on the quick slant pattern with the defender trailing from behind after biting on the outside move. Metchie catches the pass with room to run, picking up plenty of YAC for the big chunk play.
Metchie often profiles as a slot receiver at the next level due to his lack of premier size or elite deep speed, but he has been just as successful on the boundary as he has been on the inside. He has great body control and situational awareness to contort his body in the air to make catches in contested coverage. Watch this rep against the Razorbacks where Metchie gets an outside release and acts like he is going to stack the defender down the field, but then turns back to the ball on the back shoulder throw, turning his body around the snag the pass while shielding off the defender with his back, corralling the pass while getting his feet down in-bounds.
Not only is Metchie effective at creating separation out of his routes and winning contested catch situations, but he also does a great job at finding the soft spots in the zone coverage and working toward the opening quadrants of the field to give his QB an open target. Watch this scoring play where Metchie sets up the defender, getting him to cheat outside, but works to the open portion of the zone in the middle of the field, giving #9 Bryce Young an open target for the pitch-and-catch score.
Here’s another example from the same game where Metchie starts running the drag but sees the middle of the field open up when the defenders drop into their zones. He wisely adjusts his route to the open portion of the field for Young to get the ball to him while on the run that Metchie catches and takes for extra yardage to get the drive going.
Metchie may not have 4.3 speed, but he accelerates well in the open field once the ball is in his hands and is a strong runner after the catch. He was well-utilized in Alabama on quick hitters over the middle as well as on screen plays to get him in space with room to run. Here is a perfect example against Arkansas where Metchie catches the screen pass and works his way through the trash, running away from one defender and sidesteps another as he works toward the sideline and runs through another tackle attempt before being taken out of bounds.
While Metchie’s play as a WR has been well-documented the last couple seasons, his work as a special teams contributor and blocker probably is some of the best you will see from a WR prospect the last few seasons. Metchie is a selfless player who looks to dominate the man across from him as a blocker in the run game or on screen plays to his teammates. Watch the technique and effort on this play from last season where #6 DeVonta Smith catches the screen pass and Metchie attacks the defender across from him. Smith makes the first defender miss as Metchie gets his hands locked onto the defender’s torso, running him down the field and out of bounds for Smith to hit pay dirt.
Here is another example from this season against Mississippi State where Metchie attacks down the field, carrying the corner vertically as his teammate #1 Jameson Williams catches the underneath pass. Williams makes his way to the left sideline while Metchie squares up the corner tasked with covering him and proceeds to run him down the field as a blocker, sealing him off from getting to Williams who tight ropes the sideline and gets into the end zone for the 75-yard TD.
Metchie not only is a great blocker as a receiver, but also has contributed on punt return units and has the skillset to run down kicks and punts. He is aggressive in all facets of his game and isn’t afraid to throw his body out there to make a play. There is no better play that encapsulates this physicality and unselfishness than this big shot Metchie delivers on Florida Gators safety and my former athlete #0 Trey Dean III. Dean rips the ball out of the receiver’s hands for the INT on the pass by #10 Mac Jones and starts to run in back. However, Metchie tracks Dean down and completely levels him, knocking the ball out and keeping possession for the Crimson Tide.
I initially compared Metchie to Jarvis Landry in my in-season scouting notes due to his similar size and route running prowess, but another player I compared to Landry last season sticks out as a better comp: current Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown. I would hedge that Metchie is a more explosive, dynamic version of St. Brown who went in the fourth-round last season as a likely steal of the Lions, but both players share a near identical frame and size profile, along with the ability to generate separation at the top of their routes as well as the ability to work to get open against zone coverage.
Both receivers are strong at the catch point and are physical runners after the catch which also comes out in their willingness as blockers and aid in the run/screen game. St. Brown may not be that HWS specimen we like to see in a prospect profile, but he is a steady, reliable producer that can win all over the formation and keep the offense moving as a productive receiver who caught fire down the stretch. I envision Metchie playing a similar role for an offense, being a great slot receiver, but also can play well outside while providing consistent production in the passing game as well as being a high-caliber blocker and likely special teams contributor to begin his NFL career.
With the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially losing JuJu Smith-Schuster to free agency this offseason, Metchie would be the ideal replacement as a consummate professional who plays a nearly identical role as a big slot/ outside flanker hybrid that can do the dirty work over the middle, win down the field in man coverage, and block for Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool on screen plays or for Najee Harris on outside runs. Should the knee check out at the NFL Combine this March, Metchie should be able to make a considerable contribution in his first season in the league that may come at a discount given the injury and the sheer depth at the position.
Projection: Day Two
Depot Draft Grade: 8.3 MED – Future Quality Starter (2nd Round)
Games Watched: at Auburn (2021), vs Arkansas (2021), vs Tennessee (2021), vs Florida (2020)