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Sporting News Mock Draft: Browns select WR D.K. Metcalf

Mississippi wide receiver has talent but carries concerns with him after suffering neck injury.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The perception surrounding the Cleveland Browns this offseason is that the team is in need of a “true No. 1 wide receiver” to take the offense to the next level.

There is likely some truth to that as the current crop of receivers are solid if not spectacular. Although they did take their game up a notch once new head coach Freddie Kitchens took over the play calling.

Still, there isn’t a player among the group that is someone opposing defenses have to worry about on a regular basis. Which makes it understandable that, as mock draft season kicks into gear, the Browns will be tied to a wide receiver when they are on the clock in the first round with the 17th overall selection.

That is the direction that Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News takes in his latest mock draft:

No. 17: Cleveland Browns - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss: While his college teammate A.J. Brown is the shorter, scrappier playmaker, Metcalf is the classic size-speed prospect (6-4, 230 pounds). That’s the kind of outside No. 1 the Browns’ offense needs to push the ball better both downfield and in the red zone with Baker Mayfield, especially now that we know their new head coach, Freddie Kitchens, won’t be messing with the passing game.

Metcalf is entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore after seeing his 2018 season come to an end in October due to a neck injury, which is not something you want to see in your first-round draft prospect. He also played just two games as a true freshman after suffering a broken foot.

When healthy, however, Metcalf has flashed the talent.

He was an All-SEC Freshman selection after averaging 16.6 yards per catch and catching seven touchdowns in 2017. Before his neck injury last season, he had pulled in five touchdowns in seven games, and finished the year with 569 receiving yards and a tidy 21.9 yards per catch average.

That production has led some to believe that Metcalf could be a high draft pick as long as his medical report is favorable, an anonymous NFL scout told Yahoo Sports:

“He’s raw, but there’s a lot of upside because he’s so big and talented. He’ll probably go in the second round because he’s so talented. He’s going to kill workouts, and he’s a good kid and football is important to him. I’d be shocked if the health checks out if he lasts past the second round.”

Metcalf finished his collegiate career with 67 receptions for 1,228 yards, 14 touchdown receptions and an average of 18.3 yards per catch. He did that in just 21 games due to his various injuries.

Dorsey has not tipped his hand regarding the wide receiver position, but it does seem likely that the Browns will look to add to the position at some point this offseason. If Metcalf’s medical report looks good, he could be on Dorsey’s radar come draft weekend.