Ravens see Terrell Owens' playmaking ability in DK Metcalf

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Can DK become the next TO?

Asked if Ole Miss' DK Metcalf reminds the Baltimore Ravens of anyone, general manager Eric DeCosta said, "Maybe Terrell Owens running with the football after the catch."

The Ravens once thought they had acquired Owens 15 years ago, until the Hall of Fame wide receiver rescinded the trade and eventually went to the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, Baltimore could have a chance to land a similar big and physical receiver in Metcalf with the No. 22 overall pick.

Metcalf is nearly the same size as Owens. Both are 6-foot-3, and Metcalf is two pounds heavier at 228. Metcalf's playing style sparks flashes of Owens, from his ability to break tackles to his knack for getting into the end zone.

The Ravens aren't the only ones who see similarities between Metcalf and Owens.

"DK Metcalf reminds me of myself," Owens told NFL Network. "I wish I could have run a 4.3 coming out of college. All those measurables, those numbers are great, but now he has to keep himself healthy and learn as much as he can [from] whoever he gets drafted by and make the most of these opportunities."

Wide receiver was a popular topic at the Ravens' pre-draft news conference on Tuesday. The only wide receivers on Baltimore's roster who have caught an NFL pass are Willie Snead and Chris Moore, which puts a lot of inexperience and a lack of pedigree around Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens have drafted one wide receiver in the first round since 2006 (Breshad Perriman four years ago), but it could be difficult for Baltimore to pass on Metcalf if he slips to the Ravens in the first round.

Metcalf is the type of tough and physical receiver coach John Harbaugh wants in the Ravens' run-heavy offense. The 21-year-old is one of four wide receivers who has recorded 27 bench-press reps of 225 pounds at the NFL combine since 2006.

Metcalf's speed would also fit a Ravens passing attack looking to generate more big plays downfield. Besides Metcalf, only two other 220-pound wide receivers have run the 40 in fewer than 4.4 seconds at the combine over the last 14 years: Calvin Johnson (2007) and Julio Jones (2011).

"He's a guy we're looking at along with 200 other prospects in this draft," DeCosta said. "We'll assess DK versus the field. How does he stack up versus these other guys at the other positions? We'll have a decision on draft day."

There's a chance that the decision will be taken away from the Ravens. Metcalf has gone as high as No. 7 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in some mock drafts, and as low as No. 27 to the Oakland Raiders in others.

In this era of increased passing, teams can't hold out hope that their favorite target will fall. Multiple wide receivers have been drafted in the top 10 in three of the past five years.

"I could take six hours about that and how the game has changed and how players at certain positions get drafted ahead of where they should be drafted just based on their abilities," DeCosta said. "But because they affect the passing game, outside linebackers, pass-rushers, corners, wide receivers, left tackles and quarterbacks get drafted earlier than inside linebackers, guards, centers and running backs. It doesn’t mean they’re better football players necessarily, but what we’ve seen is teams are placing a much greater priority on the passing game."