If Jarvis Landry is done with the Cleveland Browns, NFL draft guru Daniel Jeremiah suggests Canadian John Metchie III could be a nice fit with the club.
Cleveland released Landry, a five-time Pro Bowl receiver, last month after four seasons. But it seems Landry has narrowed his 2022 choices between returning to the Browns or joining the New Orleans Saints.
Cleveland heads into the NFL draft with needs at defensive line and receiver. With no first-round selection, the Browns are expected to look at filling the first hole with their second-round pick (No. 44 overall) then shift their attention to receiver with either of their two third-round selections (No. 78 and 99, respectively).
The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Metchie had a team-high 96 catches last season at Alabama for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He opted to skip his senior campaign and declare for the NFL draft, which begins Thursday in Las Vegas.
Metchie had 155 receptions for 2,081 yards and 14 TDs at Alabama and helped the Tide capture an NCAA title in 2020.
Jeremiah, NFL Network’s draft expert, has suggested Metchie could be selected in third round of the draft, and provide excellent value for any team taking him. On Thursday during a conference call, Jeremiah said Metchie could be a fit in Cleveland.
“If you were saying, OK, who’s the closest thing to Jarvis Landry, as he’s moved on, I think John Metchie would probably be that guy from Alabama,” Jeremiah told reporters.
On Tuesday, Metchie was named the top prospect for the ‘22 CFL draft May 3. Then he received the Jon Cornish Trophy as Canada’s top NCAA player for a second straight year, joining B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke as the only two-time winners.
Of course, the big question heading into the NFL draft is when and where Metchie will go. Before his injury, there were suggestions Metchie could be a late first-round pick or early second-round selection.
While Jeremiah has pegged Metchie as a third-round pick, Pro Football Focus listed him as going in the second. Upon being named the Cornish award winner, Metchie said he’s ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.
“Recovery-wise, my knee has been doing really well, and I’m ahead of schedule,” Metchie said during his virtual acceptance. “No speed bumps over the last four months, and I’ve been running for over a month now.”
Another interesting destination for Metchie could be New England, where he’d reunite with former Alabama starter Mac Jones. Metchie had 55 catches for 916 yards and six TDs in 2020 with Jones under centre before Jones went in the first round last year to the Patriots.
And then there’s Green Bay, which has five picks among the first 92 selections. The Packers own two in the first round (No. 22 and No. 28 overall), two in the second (No. 53 and No. 59) and one in the third (No. 92).
With star receiver Davante Adams now with Las Vegas, The Sporting News suggested Metchie could provide Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers “a versatile young weapon” to help replace the loss of Adams.
Bucky Brooks, an analyst for NFL Network and NFL.com, feels Metchie’s injury has impacted his NFL draft stock.
“I think Metchie would’ve been a second-round pick,” Brooks said during a recent NFL Network broadcast. “I think it’s safe to kind of project him as a guy that would’ve been in the middle of the second round if everything was there because he was actually Alabama’s No. 1 receiver the way he did all of the dirty work.
“So now you kind of have to dock him some points just because of the injury so I’m thinking bottom of the third round, top of the fourth round is where he goes because this was a very effective receiver. Nice, soft hands, outstanding route runner, another in a long line of Alabama receivers that will make contributions in the National Football League.”
On the same broadcast, Jeremiah gushed about Metchie’s abilities.
“I actually think, Buck, there’s a chance he doesn’t get impacted as much as some of these others because … Metchie’s game is not based on speed,” Jeremiah said. “I think this injury shouldn’t have too big of an impact his draft status.
“His game is about feel, instincts and outstanding hands. He’s going to be a stud slot receiver at the next level.”
Pro Football Network’s scouting report on Metchie cites him as an “explosive receiver who consistently made big plays in college.” Among the positives it cited were Metchie’s route-running, ability to get off the line of scrimmage and pick up positive yardage, overall quickness and using his hands to make catches away from his body.
PFN’s negatives included Metchie not being a stout receiver, a tendency to struggle in battles and not possessing true vertical speed in addition to coming off a knee injury.
However, in its final analysis, PFN stated: “Metchie was a playmaker for Alabama and a consistent wideout who was tough to stop. He comes with average size and must show no ill effects from the injury suffered late last season. Nevertheless, Metchie has the tools necessary to develop into a solid third receiver.”