D.K. Metcalf is a big, strong, productive NFL wide receiver. Andy Isabella isn't. Isabella was taken in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft by Steve Keim's Arizona Cardinals. Metcalf wasn't. Instead, big brother took him two spots later, with the last pick in the second round. Over the weekend, Metcalf caught 7 passes for 160 yards en route to a Seahawks Wild Card victory over the Eagles. The Cardinals are hoping Isabella catches something, anything, next year. But before we crucify the Cardinals GM, did he really screw this one up that bad? I don't think so.
Both players forced you to chose between flaws. Metcalf was a physical freak, but his total yardage at Ole Miss didn't even amount to Isabella's senior year at UMass. Isabella was incredibly productive. However, he doesn't even look like the same species as Metcalf physically.
Still, the choice isn't obvious. There are guys like Calvin Johnson, who dominate the league with their physicality, and there are guys like Braylon Edwards, whose height, weight and speed never provide early-round production you'd think it would. Metcalf, by the way, was considered stiff, and laterally slow by many NFL scouts.
Similarly, there are the Wes Welker's, Julian Edleman's, and Cole Beasley's of the world, and then there are guys like Chad Hansen, who you've probably never heard of. Both types have worked in the NFL. Metcalf has worked better so far, amassing 871 more yards than Isabella, but that's not even the whole story.
Metcalf walked into a situation ready-made for nurturing a young wide receiver. Pete Carroll's got that organization rolling in Seattle. He's been there since 2010, he's got an All-Pro quarterback, and he's been working hand-in-hand with GM John Schneider the whole time. Everyone in that organization knows exactly how to act, because it's been the same program for so many years. When a rookie like Metcalf walks into training camp, he gets a crash course in how it's supposed to be. I'm not sure anybody knew how it was "supposed to be" when the Cardinals started training camp in 2019. How could they? Kliff was learning as much about NFL coaching as Isabella was about being an NFL wide receiver. So, while Isabella was learning the NFL schedule and lifestyle, so was his head coach. Kingsbury spent most of the year trying to keep his head above water and get Kyler Murray ready to go. You think he had time to develop a late 2nd rounder? Isabella was practically told to sit at the kids table, while Kingsbury and Vance Joseph finally met, and figured out how they'd split responsibilities all year.
That's why it's simply too early to make a judgement about whether Metcalf or Isabella is the better wide receiver, or if Keim totally screwed this one up. Sure, the odds favor Metcalf because he's been so productive so early, and he's now built a clear rapport with Russell Wilson. The dude looks like a stud. It's just that, Isabella really never had that chance.