Few players are as well-traveled as former Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III. He was born in Taiwan and moved to the Western African country of Ghana before his family settled in Canada when he was just six years old. Metchie played high school football in Maryland prior to finding his way to Tuscaloosa, Ala.
A four-star recruit with more than 20 offers, Metchie said he chose Alabama for the high degree of competition. During his time with the Crimson Tide, his role grew each year, becoming a second-team All-SEC honoree before declaring for the 2022 NFL Draft as a true junior. He led Alabama in receptions and saw his final season come to a premature end in the conference championship game, costing him the playoff run.
Height: 5-foot-11 1/4
Weight: 187 pounds
40 time: N/A — ran 4.87 as a recruit but is estimated around 4.5 seconds
He plays quicker than fast. While he has physically matured during his time at Alabama, Metchie’s 4.87-second time as a recruit, even 4.5 isn’t particularly fast. That said, it was fast enough to make big plays, and the tape doesn’t lie. If he has a step on a defender, not too many will catch up.
Table: John Metchie III NCAA stats (2019-21)
*includes postseason/bowl games
- Excellent short-area burst and acceleration — goes from barely moving to top speed in a hurry
- Does an excellent job of finding soft spots in coverage as scrambling quarterbacks buy more time — works his way back to the ball with the best of ’em
- Quality route-running skills with sharp footwork in and out of breaks to create separation
- Fully in charge against man coverage and does a great job of escaping press jams at the line by utilizing leverage
- Quite capable of creating yards after the catch
- Understands route nuance by varying his speed — will be a quick study in the pros when it comes to route concepts
- Learned from several recent NFL receiver selections out of Alabama, including Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III and DeVonta Smith
- Has shown improvement holding on to the ball in contested situations
- Tracks the ball well over his shoulders — generally catches with this hands away from his body when not in tight coverage
- Quite productive against NFL-level competition, despite also fighting for targets among serious talent on his team
- Highly praised by Nick 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.”
Also see: 2022 NFL Draft Central
- Really doesn’t show a vertical gear on film — not going to win a lot of races down the length of the field
- Recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in December
- Lacks thickness throughout his frame and may not be able to add muscle without sacrificing even more speed
- Too much tape of him losing the ball in traffic — while he has improved, some teams will be turned off by this
- Likely pigeonholed into playing from the slot but could spend some time at split end
Fantasy football outlook
Metchie has put a lot to like on film, but he also has some glaring drawbacks that will erase him from some draft boards. The slight frame is a significant concern. Even though there are exceptions in the NFL, most small-bodied receivers better be so fast no one can catch them or exceptionally gifted in traffic. He’s neither.
New York Giants slot receiver Sterling Shepard is a fine comparison. Not only are they similarly sized, the two share comparable skill sets and roles in an offense.
In the right setting, shielded by a true No. 1 receiver and complementary pieces to alleviate defensive attention, Metchie has a good chance of developing into a WR3 for most systems. The connection between Bill Belichick and Saban could be worth keeping an eye on if the New England Patriots bypass the position in Round 1 and want to reunite quarterback Mac Jones with his former target. Metchie could be a Round 2 choice near the end of the stanza, but he certainly shouldn’t fall out of the second day.
For fantasy football purposes, his long-term outlook is far brighter than the odds of him making an immediate impact. In 2022 drafts, mostly due to recovering from the ACL tear, Metchie offers little more than flier material late in the process, regardless of where he plays.