Although the final year of his tenure in Tuscaloosa was cut short by injury and ultimately didn’t live up to preseason expectations, John Metchie III is still an exciting 2022 NFL Draft prospect. In a deep wide receiver class, he won’t attain the first-round selection that seemed probable less than 12 months ago. However, Metchie’s NFL Draft scouting report reveals an enticing playmaker who could prove to be a bargain in Las Vegas.
John Metchie III NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Alabama
- Current Year: Junior
- Height: 5’11 1/4″
- Weight: 187 pounds
- Wingspan: 73 3/8″
- Arm: 30 5/8″
- Hand: 9 1/4″
John Metchie III Scouting Report
Having started the season with some first-round NFL Draft hype, Metchie slipped behind his more explosive and productive teammate as the 2021 college football campaign unfolded. Additionally, the ACL tear suffered during the SEC Championship Game casts a further cloud over his once-shining stock. In a deep receiving class, the Alabama WR might not command the attention he once did.
Yet, Metchie showcases a scouting report that possesses NFL potential as long as he recovers fully from that injury. There’s reason to believe that he can see a substantial role in the NFL, even if he doesn’t command attention as a true WR1 at that level. Currently, he projects as a mid-Day 2 prospect on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board.
Metchie is a genuine speed threat at the wide receiver position. He gets downfield in a hurry, and once open, there’s little chance that he’s going to be caught. His speed gives him the ability to create and maintain separation at all three levels of the field. More than just speed, Metchie demonstrates impressive burst and acceleration.
Route-running ability and versatility
In addition to his speed, Metchie displays impressive route-running ability. He exhibits quick footwork and excellent change of direction, which enables him to fake out coverage, allowing for even greater separation.
But Metchie is not just a downfield threat; he’s equally adept at coming across the middle on slant routes. He has the fluidity to be twitchy on short and intermediate routes.
Due to his speed and route-running ability, Metchie poses a versatile threat to the entire field and from multiple alignments. The Alabama WR has lined up across the formation for the Crimson Tide, including in the backfield. The danger Metchie presents with his speed allowed Nick Saban to use him on motion plays like fake jet sweeps — giving them additional options to create diversion and confusion.
Although he isn’t necessarily a physical specimen in this 2022 NFL Draft class, Metchie can more than hold his own as a blocking wide receiver. He is willing and able, and there are multiple examples in the games studied of him actively moving men towards the sideline or downfield.
Areas for improvement
While showcasing speed, explosion, and route-running prowess in his scouting report, there are areas of significant improvement required on Metchie’s scouting report. These areas of concern will ultimately ensure that he doesn’t live up to the initial excitement for his NFL Draft projection.
The most significant red flag at this moment in time is Metchie’s ACL tear. For a player whose most impressive attribute is his explosion and speed, fully recovering from this injury will be pivotal to his long-term projection. From his interviews at the NFL Combine, the Alabama WR seems confident of a full recovery. However, that is an uncertainty at this time.
Although Metchie demonstrates some physicality in downfield blocking, there are some issues with his physicality pertaining to being a pass catcher. There were multiple examples of the Alabama WR failing to secure the ball in contested-catch situations. In addition, he didn’t routinely hold onto the ball through contact. Furthermore, Metchie doesn’t always fight his way through traffic with ease in the middle of the field.
Some issues with his pass-catching technique exist on the whole. While a lack of physicality presents difficulty in contested-catch situations, he doesn’t routinely showcase strong hands. Metchie also doesn’t routinely pluck the ball out of the sky, relying on body catches. This isn’t helped by a relatively small catch radius. That said, he’s shown the ability to track the ball in over-the-shoulder-catch situations.
Metchie’s Player Profile
Metchie’s path to the NFL Draft began far from the Las Vegas strip, where he’ll potentially hear his name called. Born in Taiwan, his family moved to Ghana when he was just a small boy. At the age of six, the family uprooted for a second time, making the long journey to Canada. It was there that Metchie discovered a love of football that would ultimately entail further family upheaval.
St. James High School in Maryland is famous for helping Canadian players break into the American football scene. Aware of its notoriety, Metchie made it his mission to make it to Maryland. Once established there, the speedy pass catcher set about achieving fame of his own. During his four seasons at St. James, the versatile offensive weapon racked up 1,300 rushing yards, 2,500 receiving yards, and 42 total touchdowns.
An ascending four-star prospect, Metchie held offers from over 20 programs. Although his early offers came from FCS and Group of Five programs, major FBS schools weren’t far behind. Eventually, he would narrow it down to Penn State and Alabama, with the Crimson Tide winning the battle to land the Canadian pass catcher.
Hard work had become a considerable part of Metchie’s appeal, but there would be more to be done before he could arrive in Tuscaloosa. As part of his recruitment, Alabama had suggested he spend a year at a prep school, so he spent some time at The Peddie School in Hightown, New Jersey.
Metchie’s career at Alabama
Metchie had cited the level of competition as a deciding factor coming to Tuscaloosa, and nowhere defines competition more than the Alabama wide receiver room. He arrived in 2019 in a unit that contained Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. As a result, Metchie’s potential for playing time would be minimal.
Nonetheless, he opened eyes at the Alabama spring game, snagging 8 catches for 104 yards. The performance allowed him to see playing time in 13 games as a true freshman. Moreover, he secured his first career catch against Duke while adding further receptions against Southern Miss, Arkansas, and Western Carolina; 4 receptions for 23 yards might not sound like a lot, but it set the basis for a standout sophomore season.
It’s easier to say that Metchie was a beneficiary of Waddle’s regular-season-ending injury against Tennessee in 2020. After all, the sophomore sensation racked up 151 yards on 7 receptions on the day Waddle went down. However, Metchie already flashed his skill set in a win over Texas A&M. The Alabama WR was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Week after securing 181 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns at a remarkable 36.2 yards per catch.
Metchie emerged as a reliable big-play threat for the Crimson Tide. The Alabama WR secured a first down or a touchdown on 64% of his receptions during his sophomore campaign. Unafraid of the limelight, he contributed 81 yards in the CFP National Championship win over Ohio State.
Metchie’s NFL Draft ascension
Metchie ended the season with 916 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns, winning the Jon Cornish Trophy as the best college player from Canada, drawing remarkable praise from Alabama head coach Saban: “This guy is the epitome of what you look for in a wide receiver. He is tough, he plays hurt. He gets open, he makes catches, he makes plays.”
Metchie also caught the attention of NFL teams, with some declaring that the Alabama WR was even better at this stage of his career than some of his former teammates-turned-NFL Draft first-rounders. However, it was another teammate — Jameson Williams — who drew the early attention with multiple 100+ yard games receiving, including in the season opener.
Nonetheless, Metchie kicked into gear down the stretch starting with a 117-yard outing against Mississippi State. Ahead of the SEC Championship Game battle with Georgia, he’d tallied four 100+ yard games. Unfortunately, an ACL tear suffered in that battle with the Bulldogs ended his college career. Although he got somewhat lost in the shadow of Williams’ ascent, the Alabama WR still ended the season with 1,142 yards and 8 touchdowns.
For the second consecutive year, Metchie received the Cornish Trophy as the best Canadian-born collegiate athlete. The ACL injury may have prevented the Alabama WR from working out at the NFL Combine and ultimately impacted his draft stock, but he’s adamant that he’ll be ready to fully participate in NFL training camp. If he can get back to full health, to his very best, the team that selects him may have received a bargain in the NFL Draft.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for John Metchie III
Positives: Explosive receiver who consistently made big plays in college. Sharp route runner who quickly gets off the line of scrimmage and immediately gets to top speed. Possesses outstanding quickness as well as a burst that he turns on in a single step.
Extends his hands to make the reception away from his frame, adjusts to errant throws, and catches the ball in stride. Uses his frame to protect the pass, keeps the play in bounds after the catch, and works to pick up positive yardage. Sells routes, quickly gets into breaks, and does an outstanding job following the quarterback across the field.
Negatives: Not a stout receiver, struggles in battles, and does not display strong hands. Lacks a second gear and true vertical speed. Coming off a knee injury from late last season.
Analysis: 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.