Seahawks DK Metcalf ranked as best red zone target in 2021
By Lee Vowell
12s know that Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf is a special player. But it is always nice to see grades that back up our thought process. And Pro Football Focus has produced a list that Metcalf ranks at the top of.
Actually, even though Metcalf was graded by PFF (subscription required) as the best red zone target in 2021, the argument could be made that he was still underused by the Seahawks and Russell Wilson.
For instance, Metcalf last year was targeted 20 times in the red zone. That is far too few for a receiver of Metcalf’s size and athleticism. Compare Metcalf’s 20 targets to Cooper Kupp’s 38 and one can see that maybe a reason Seattle didn’t score more is that they didn’t give Metcalf more of a chance when the team was in a position to score touchdowns.
Seahawks underused DK Metcalf in the red zone in 2021
Stefon Diggs of the Bills was targeted 32 times. And just to show my point a bit more in how Seattle didn’t use all the talent at its disposal last year in the red zone, Tyler Lockett was targeted only 7 times.
Metcalf, however, is graded as the best as he caught 13 of his 20 targets, 9 for touchdowns (third-most in the league) and 125 yards. So nearly half the time Metcalf was targeted in the red zone, the pass resulted in him catching the ball for a touchdown.
One of the more shocking and disappointing aspects of the 2021 season is that Metcalf went six straight games without a touchdown reception. These were weeks 10 through 15 – all of the games where Russell Wilson was the quarterback. (Metcalf actually caught 4 touchdown passes from Geno Smith when Smith was the quarterback for three full games and one quarter of Week 5).
And 3 of Metcalf’s touchdown catches – all 3 in the red zone – came in Week 17. By then Seattle was just 5-10 and the season was long over. So was any hope that the offense could have been corrected to involve Metcalf when he truly needed to be.