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Ravens' Take on D.K. Metcalf and the Wide Receiver Class


If the Ravens meet with wide receiver D.K. Metcalf at the NFL Combine, he won't have to convince them he spends time in the weight room.

Recent pictures of Metcalf's bulked-up physique blew up on Twitter. Listed at 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Metcalf flexes muscles that have muscles.

The Ravens are looking for wide receivers who can block defensive backs, and Metcalf looks like he can block an SUV.

The Ravens are looking for wide receivers who can block defensive backs, and Metcalf looks like he can block an SUV.

Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz saw the pictures of Metcalf and had this reaction.

"Who's the defensive end?" Hortiz said on The Lounge Podcast. "He was yoked up. He had just got done lifting. He's a big dude. We'll see what he looks like in Indy."

Metcalf's case is just one situation that makes this week's Combine intriguing, with the Ravens in the market for wideouts that mesh well with new franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Metcalf has been linked to the Ravens in several mock drafts, but has he lost some flexibility with his recent weightlifting? Or is he exactly the physical wide receiver the Ravens want, assuming he is still available with the No. 22 pick? The combine will help answer those questions.

"You can be too muscular at any position if it prohibits your flexibility," Hortiz said. "If he goes out and looks flexible still, which I expect him to be because he's a really athletic kid, I think he'll be fine."

Speculation that the Ravens will draft a wide receiver increased Monday, after the Ravens reportedly released wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

Building their offense around Jackson, the Ravens plan to feature a diverse running game that will allow Jackson to make plays with his legs. In that style of offense, blocking by wide receivers will be important. A physical wideout like Metcalf could help spring Jackson for big plays, and the Ravens see upside in his ability as a pass-catcher. Last season at Ole Miss, Metcalf had 26 catches for 569 yards and five touchdowns.

"If you say to yourself what's the prototype of a big, strong wide receiver it's D.K. Metcalf," Hortiz said.

"There's a little rawness to him. His production is not as great as you'd like in terms of a receiver in college coming into the pros. But the things that jump out at you are his ability to go get the ball vertical. He's got strong hands. He does drop some balls. That being said, he can use his frame, he can make the contested catch and outmuscle a corner who's trying to come over top of him for the ball."

Metcalf isn't the only wide receiver being linked to the Ravens in mock drafts. Others include Ole Miss teammate A.J. Brown, N'Keal Harry of Arizona State, Marquise Brown of Oklahoma, Kelvin Harmon of N.C. State and Riley Ridley of Georgia.

Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Harry, Harmon and Ridley are possession and big-play receivers who could fill the void left by Crabtree's expected departure. However, the Ravens are not ruling out drafting a speed receiver like Marquise Brown, who will not participate in drills at the Combine due to Lisfranc foot surgery. Blocking is not the 5-foot-10, 170 pounder's forte, but he is a playmaker, something the Ravens covet.

"We're not taking a great blocker who can't catch," Hortiz said.

"It's a pretty deep group. Top-tier, I think everyone is going to probably have different guys at the top. … There are guys in the first, second, third rounds that are going to have a chance to come in and be starters in the NFL."

The Ravens haven't hit on wide receivers early in the draft very often. Their most recent first-round pick at wide receiver, Breshad Perriman (2015), only caught 43 passes in three seasons with the Ravens before being released in 2018 and picked up by the Cleveland Browns.

DeCosta talked about the team's approach to drafting wide receivers during his introductory press conference last month. If the Ravens take a wide receiver early, they want to make sure the choose the right one.

"That's a challenging position, I think, to draft and to scout and to develop for a lot of reasons," DeCosta said. "But in the end, I've learned from Ozzie (Newsome) that the guy has to catch the football – first and foremost. You'd like the guy to have some toughness and some speed, some route ability, there's a lot of different things you look for. Blocking as a wide receiver for us is important. Again, we'll hash these guys out in the draft meetings and free agency and try to find the guys that fit us best."

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