Seahawks stay on defense, pick safety Marquise Blair
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — D.K. Metcalf was forced to endure a wait far longer than he expected as the wide receiver tumbled in the NFL draft. Emotional after finally coming off the board, Metcalf had the sense to ask one question of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
“Why’d you all wait this long?” Metcalf asked .
It was a fair question after Seattle used the final pick of the second-round Friday night to land the wide receiver the Seahawks needed — a player many had projected to be gone long before the No. 64 pick.
“That was the first time my phone had rang, so just to have a phone call was amazing. I’m just blessed to be part of the organization,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf was the second of Seattle’s three selections on the second day of the draft. Seattle started with a focus on defense by selecting Utah safety Marquise Blair. They closed the night by moving up four spots — yet another trade — and selecting Utah linebacker Cody Barton with the 88th overall selection.
By the end of the night, Seattle had made its fourth trade of the draft and added three key defensive players over the first two days.
But it was the move on offense that grabbed attention.
Metcalf was deemed a potential first- or early second-round pick because of his impressive pre-draft workouts. Metcalf is 6-foot-3, 228 pounds, but ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, did 27 reps in the bench press and had a 40 ½-inch vertical jump at the NFL combine. The eye-popping numbers made up for Metcalf’s mostly pedestrian numbers last season at Ole Miss and concerns about his limited route-running ability. He played in just seven games due to a neck injury and had 26 receptions and five touchdowns in his limited action.
“My life has changed by people taking notice of what I’ve been able to do with my body, my numbers. It’s time for me to show the football player that I am,” Metcalf said.
Carroll has always prized big wide receivers, even if they’ve been a fleeting commodity in Seattle. Metcalf may be the most physically gifted of any Seattle has tried to fit into its system in the past. General manager John Schneider shared the story of Metcalf walking into their meeting at the combine with his shirt off, and Carroll following suit.
It wasn’t a joke. The Seahawks later tweeted the video .
“We have not had that guy. D.K. has an opportunity to be that kind of player,” Carroll said.
Metcalf’s acquisition could end up being even more important because of concerns about veteran Doug Baldwin. After a pair of offseason surgeries, the 30-year-old Baldwin is considering retirement, Carroll and Schneider said. Schneider said drafting Metcalf was not due to uncertainty about Baldwin.
Seattle’s two defensive picks on the second day both hailed from Utah and the defensive schemes of coach Kyle Whittingham.
In drafting Blair, Seattle may have found the next version of former hard-hitting safety Kam Chancellor. At 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Blair appears capable of playing either free or strong safety and his highlight tape is filled with big hits reminiscent of what Chancellor brought to Seattle.
Blair showed his versatility by playing in a variety of roles at Utah, splitting time at both safety positions. Blair was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last season after recording 59 tackles and grabbing two interceptions.
Blair represents the highest pick Seattle has used on a secondary player since selecting Earl Thomas No. 14 overall in the 2010 draft. And safety was a need after losing Thomas in free agency and both Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill showing potential at times but struggling with consistency.
“I can be physical in the box and I can cover the back end,” Blair said.
Barton played inside and outside linebacker at Utah and that versatility will be important as Seattle is mostly set with its starting linebacker group. Barton led Utah with 116 tackles his senior season.
“I had experience at both positions and I think that gave me great tools to use in the draft and make me more valuable to teams,” Barton said.
After all the trades, Seattle enters the final day of the draft with five picks.