RENTON -- With questions surrounding the health of Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks added to their stable of pass catchers with Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf with the 64th and final selection of the second round of the NFL Draft.
"It felt great," Metcalf said. "That’s the first time that my phone rang and just to have a phone call was amazing. I’m just blessed to be a part of the organization."
Metcalf is a physical specimen measuring in at 6-foot-3 3/8 and 228 pounds at the NFL Combine. Despite his large frame, he managed to run a 4.33 40-yard dash that led to Metcalf vaulting up the big boards of draft analysts over the last two months.
"D.K. fits the mold of smart, tough and reliable," southwest area scout Aaron Hineline said. "He obviously has a great pedigree and is a freak of an athlete. He’ll be a great fit with all that we ask of our guys at that position. He blocks well and can contribute on special teams."
Metcalf was projected as a possible first round pick but slipped all the way until the final pick of the second round. The Seahawks picks No. 77 in the third round and No. 118 in the fourth round to move to pick No. 64 in deal with the New England Patriots. The move allowed Seattle to jump back up into the second round and get Metcalf while he was still on the board.
"We’ve been attempting to find that guy because it is a real factor if it fits right," head coach Pete Carroll said. The split end spot is there for a guy who can match up one-on-one. You get a lot of one-on-ones over there and if a guy can do a good job of beating whoever he’s going against, then you can have a real weapon on that side. We’ve loved it over the years. But we have not had that guy. D.K. has the opportunity to be that type of player."
Over his final two seasons at Mississippi, Metcalf appeared in 19 games and caught 65 passes for 1,215 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, Metcalf missed a total of 16 games over his three years in Oxford due to a pair of neck injuries. Schneider said they don't have any concerns about the injuries going forward.
"Our guys are cool with it," he said.
With their second pick of the day, Seattle went back to the University of Utah to select linebacker Cody Barton with the 88th overall pick. The Seahawks sent pick No. 92 to Minnesota, as well as a fifth-round pick, No. 159 overall. Minnesota also sent a sixth-rounder, No. 209, to Seattle as part of the trade.
Barton led the Utes with 116 tackles as a senior and was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. Barton also had 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, an interception and six pass-breakups.
"I’m just excited to go there and compete with the team and compete during camp and just learn as much as I can. I’m honored for this opportunity and I’m very grateful," Barton said.
Carroll said that Barton is capable of play all three linebacker spots but will focus on the interior spots at the outset.
"He’s going to be able to play all of the spots eventually," Carroll said. "We’ll start him off inside in the WILL spots and let him learn the system and see where he takes it. He’s fitted size-wise and speed-wise, makeup-wise and background-wise to be able to do it all. We won’t ask him to do all that, but we’ll start him inside."
Photo Credit: TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 30: D.K. Metcalf #14 of the Mississippi Rebels pulls in this reception against Anthony Averett #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
John Schneider confirms Doug Baldwin mulling retirement:
Shortly after the Seahawks made D.K. Metcalf the final selection of the second round, a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said there's a chance Doug Baldwin has played his last down of football.
At the age of 30, Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin might be unable to play again due to the cumulative effect of multiple injuries, per sources. There is a real chance that Baldwin, one of the Seahawks’ best and most popular players, has played his last NFL down, a source said Friday.
Seahawks G.M. John Schneider confirmed with reporters after the end of day two of the draft that it is an option on the table for Baldwin.
"Considering it, yeah. But there's a process to go through with that," Schneider said.
"We know Doug is going to have a hard time. There's a process that we need to go through with Doug. At that point with D.K. that didn't really weigh in. There's still several doggone good receivers on the board so we're working our way through that."
Baldwin had injuries to both knees last season that forced him to miss time. It took until late in the year for Baldwin to feel like he could play without too much limitation. Since the season has concluded, Baldwin has had additional surgeries to his knees and shoulder, and a surgery to address a sports hernia.
"He has been an extraordinary part of this program since we've been here," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He has given us everything he has had, been a great competitor, player and all that. We believe in him so much and trust in him so much that wherever this goes, we're going to support him forever. He's been a great contributor in so many ways, not just on the team, in the community and everything else. He's been awesome. We'll see what happens. He's working through it and we're going to follow Doug on this one."
Baldwin has two years remaining on his current contract with the Seahawks. He is set to make $9.25 million in base salary this season and $10.25 million in 2020. If Baldwin were to retire, the Seahawks would need to account for nearly $6.9 million in dead money against their salary cap stemming from the remaining prorated signing bonus he received for his new deal in 2016. That could all hit on this year's cap or be split over two years depending on when roster moves are made. Those decisions would be a part of any retirement process Baldwin would go through should he elect to walk away from the game.
"Just trust us, there's a process. We're trying to respect Doug as much as we can," Schneider said. "... He's at a point in his career where he's considering a lot of things. Once you get there, there's a lot of different ways. There's stuff with the league office, with the union that we need to work through with him."
With Baldwin's status in doubt, Schneider seemed to indicate they will still be looking at receivers on the final day of the draft.
"There's still several doggone good receivers on the board so we're working our way through that," he said.
Photo Credit: SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 16: Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks is hit after a catch by Antone Exum #38 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 16, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)