Patriots

There's a compelling case for Patriots to draft John Metchie

Patriots

John Metchie started his own hype train Wednesday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The Alabama wide receiver heaped praise on Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and said he'd love to reunite with his former Crimson Tide teammate in New England.

"I think Mac 10 and I would be special, for sure," Metchie said.

Metchie's comments piqued Patriots fans' interest in the 21-year-old, who was projected as a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft before tearing his ACL during the SEC Championship Game in December, an injury that likely will drop him to the second round.

Wide receiver is a position of need for New England. But does Metchie make sense for the Patriots if he's available at No. 53 overall? The Athletic's Dane Brugler joined Phil Perry on the Next Pats Podcast to share his take.

Next Pats Podcast: Making the case to pair John Metchie with Mac Jones | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Coming back from an ACL, obviously the medicals play a part," Brugler said. "But this is a player you're going to get maybe 10-15 picks later than you normally would because of that injury. So, if he's on pace to play at some point in the first two months of the season and return from that injury, I think it makes a lot of sense."

 

At 6 feet, 195 pounds, Metchie isn't the biggest wide receiver in the draft, and he's not a burner either. He was incredibly productive in college, though -- 916 receiving yards on 55 catches with Jones as his QB in 2020 and 1,142 receiving yards on 96 catches in 2021 -- and can line up anywhere on the field.

"I think that's part of the appeal with Metchie is he can play any of those positions," Brugler said. "You want to hear Nick Saban really gush about a receiver? Just ask him about John Metchie. He calls him the epitome of what a wide receiver is. That's pretty high praise coming from him.

"For Metchie, he might not be that elite size/speed guy, but he has body control. He understands how to manipulate coverages. And this is a guy who has outstanding toughness."

Brugler admitted durability could be a concern with Metchie, who played through multiple injuries in college. Metchie insisted he'll be fully healthy by June, however, and could be a second-round steal if he's not hampered by injuries at the NFL level.

"He's just a really dependable player who I think you feel comfortable playing all over the field at X, Y and Z, and a guy who's going to play relatively early in his career," Brugler said of Metchie.

Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne both had solid seasons for the Patriots in 2021, but Jones still needs that "go-to guy" who can help elevate New England's passing game to the next level. Given his familiarity with Jones -- the two also worked on Alabama's scout team together in 2019 -- Metchie seems like an enticing option if the Patriots are willing to use a high draft pick on a wideout.

Who are some other wide receiver options for New England, and who might the team target at linebacker and cornerback in this year's draft? Subscribe to the Next Pats Podcast or watch on YouTube to hear Brugler's full conversation with Perry.