With the 12th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver out of Louisiana State University.
This selection addressed a dire need for the Giants, and Beckham will be looked upon to replace Hakeem Nicks as the Giants’ number two receiver. Odell Beckham Jr. produced phenomenal numbers in his three year career at LSU, both as a wide receiver and as a returned. Here are both his receiving and returning statistics in his three year career at LSU:
Clearly, Beckham was an extremely beneficial player for the LSU Tigers. In a conference as stacked as the SEC, Beckham Jr. still managed to rank in the top 25 for receiving yards in the FBS despite sharing time and passes with LSU teammate Jarvis Landry.
After running a 4.43 40 yard dash at the combine, Beckham established himself as one of the fastest receivers in the draft, ranking 7th of all wide outs at the combine. However, even more impressive was his outstanding performance in the shuttle runs, ranking 3rd in the 20 yard shuttle and top 5 in the 60 yard shuttle. This translates to his phenomenal agility and acceleration, which helps to make him one of the best route runners in the draft.
However, a daunting statistic is how well Beckham played against top defenses across the FBS. Odell Beckham Jr. faced three teams that finished in the top 25 for overall defense (Alabama, Florida, TCU), and against these teams he averaged just 3.3 receptions for a meager 69 yards. This may not seem awful, but when compared to his other games in which he averaged 5 receptions for 95 yards, it is definitely a cause for concern that he cannot perform well against top competition. Also, his stats might be deceiving as he recorded 519 yards (45% of total yards) and 7 touchdowns (87.5% of total touchdowns) in just three games against horrendous teams (UAB, Mississippi State, and Furman).
Another flaw to Beckham’s play is his inconsistency to catch in traffic. Although the former Tiger was relatively reliable when catching passes, he is still prone to dropping the ball when being heavily contested. Unfortunately, the defenders only get better and stronger at the professional, making it even more difficult to snag in those passes while in traffic.
Also, Beckham’s overall size and strength is definitely a concern. At 5’11″ and 198 pounds, Beckham is on the smaller side of the spectrum, which will make it difficult for him to succeed as an “X” or a “Z” receiver in the NFL (outside receivers). Even more disconcerting is his strength, which he displayed by managing to do just 7 reps of the bench press at the combine. Over the last 10 years, the only receiver to have any sort of impact in the NFL who benched just 7 reps or less is Tiquan Underwood, who has just 1,006 receiving yards over a disappointing 4-year career.
Fortunately, Odell Beckham Jr. excels in several other aspects of being a wide receiver. The most significant of this is his route running, as mentioned before. Beckham is fluid a quick in his cuts, and his immediate acceleration allows him to instantaneously create separation from his defenders.
The ex-Tiger also has a mind-boggling ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. Whether he’s returning a kick/punt or trying to gain yards after the catch, Beckham has consistently shown that he can juke defenders out, break tackles, run past them, and do pretty much just about anything to extend plays. This attribute has been noticed by all who have scouted him, including Bill Polian, ESPN analyst.
“Beckham is a smooth and explosive athlete who brings a dangerous element after the catch and as a returner. He showed tremendous improvement throughout the course of last season with his release and ball skills.”
Another major pro to Odell Beckham Jr. is his versatility. Last year we saw him line up as both an “X” receiver, a “Z” receiver, and a slot receiver. Beckahm can line up essentially anywhere on the field and still be productive, something that Coughlin and the Giants can use to their advantage.
Overall, one must keep in mind that the Giants got a phenomenal football player in Odell Beckham Jr., and expect him to pay dividends for Big Blue in the future.