Bump: How Seahawks can get the best out of DK Metcalf

Jun 8, 2024, 5:47 PM

Seattle Seahawks DK Metcalf...

DK Metcalf of the Seattle Seahawks runs after a catch on Nov. 12, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

There’s no denying DK Metcalf’s athletic abilities and sky-high potential, but have the Seattle Seahawks seen the best of their imposing wide receiver yet?

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Metcalf has had a very productive five seasons in Seattle. He’s tied for fourth in the league in receiving touchdowns (43) and is 11th in receiving yards (5,332) since his rookie campaign in 2019. However, he hasn’t the type of massive season recently to put him in the class with the likes of Justin Jefferson or Tyreek Hill.

Former Seahawks wideout Michael Bumpus delved into how the team can best take advantage of Metcalf’s abilities on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

Creating the matchups

Metcalf’s size and athleticism are unique even when it comes to athletically-gifted NFL players. Metcalf’s 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame makes him big enough to be a tight end, and his 4.33-second 40-yard dash and 40 1/2-inch vertical jump were top 10 in his draft class regardless of position.

“It’s all about creating matchups,” Bumpus said. “DK is a matchup headache for anybody he goes against just off his pure size and ability, but I think at times last year he wasn’t put in position to exploit some matchups.”

The Seahawks showed a glimpse of what creating matchups for Metcalf could look like during OTAs.

“As far as setting a matchups, we saw a clip last week or whenever they started OTAs, and DK was in the slot and was working some slot stuff,” Bumpus said. “So again, that’s another way. You put DK in the slot, what (is the defense) gonna do? (It’s) gonna bring a safety down, (it) can put a linebacker on him. Find ways to get him the ball in creative ways, and get DK the ball when he is moving. He can catch it on a curl, stop and start, which is fine. But we all know he’s at his best when he’s already moving. He can turn up field and take all of that energy towards the end zone. So that’s how you take full advantage of him.”

A Metcalf misperception?

Metcalf was fourth with 12 in 2021 and tied for fifth in the league with eight TD receptions last season , but he hasn’t ranked in the top 15 in receiving yards since a career-best 1,303 in 2020.

“Is there a fundamental way we misunderstand how DK is best used?” co-host Stacy Rost asked. “We look at DK, we look at his body type, we look at him as just being an ‘it’ factor and we think he should be having 1,600 yards. Is he that kind of guy?”

“He could be if he didn’t have Tyler Lockett and (Jaxon Smith-Njigba) and (you didn’t) use your tight ends,” Bumpus responded. “… There’s always been a number two and even a number three receiver over here in Seattle.”

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though.

“Honestly, that works best for DK,” Bumpus said. “If DK was just the guy over here by himself, (teams are) gonna bracket him, keep the safety over the top, when they don’t have to worry about your tight ends or your wide receivers. That’s not the deal over here. You got other guys who can get it done. … DK can go for 1,000 yards this year. If he’s got 12 touchdowns, that is a great year, because that means that JSN got 900 (yards), that means Lockett might have 800 to 900. You want to spread the football around. Your ego is gonna want you to get 150 targets in 1,300 to 1,400 yards, but it’s best when two to three other receivers are eating.”

What DK’s best looks like

Even with other strong options in the passing game, Bumpus believes we could still see a career season for the sixth-year wide receiver.

“Ryan Grubb has shown that he can have three receivers on his team eat and still run the football,” Bumpus said. “… It was at the college level, but I think it’s going to translate because we’ve seen that happen over the past few years in the NFL, things that work in college football has shown to be able to work in the NFL. So yeah, I think there’s a possibility.”

How would that look?

“To me, the best out of DK would be him having four to five touchdowns over 35 to 40 yards, really being able to stretch the defense north-south and open it up,” Bumpus said. “So imagine if DK goes off one game and he’s got a 35-yard bomb and a 40-yard bomb, those safeties are gonna stay over the top, they’re gonna get in quarters a bit more and now those underneath routes are gonna open up, which Tyler Lockett is good at running and JSN is good at running. So it’s all connected, but the more explosive DK can be earlier, the best it is gonna be for this ballclub.”

Find the full conversation at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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Bump: How Seahawks can get the best out of DK Metcalf