Did the Giants Need to Select Odell Beckham Jr.?
If the New York Giants were looking for a dynamic, game-breaking, multi-functional, versatile threat at the receiver position, they have officially found one in Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU. Whether it be as a kick returner, wide receiver, or simply a return specialist, Beckham Jr. can score from anywhere on the field in any situation. He earned All-America honors for both during his junior season this year by the way. And the accolades don’t stop there - Beckham won the 2013 Paul Hornung Award, which is the title given to the Nation’s Most Versatile Player.
His SEC Honors were plentiful and they pale in comparison to Odell's various All-America awards this year. Racking up 178.1 all-purpose yards a game, Beckham Jr. ranked second in the nation. In total, he accumulated 2,315 all-purpose yards which ranks as the second-highest total in SEC history, trailing only Randall Cobb who had 2,396 yards for Kentucky back in 2010.
Odell ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine and was one of the fastest players in all of college football. You could say Odell hit the genetic lottery thanks to his mother, a former track star at LSU and his father who was a former LSU Running Back. He possesses the type of speed to completely take off the top of a defense and open things up for an entire offense.
Obviously, athleticism and speed jump off the page at you when analyzing a player like Beckham. His hands are actually an underrated strength. (Beckham surprisingly had his hands measured at 10 inches at the combine which was bigger than both Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins.) His hands have gotten better overall throughout his college career as is evidenced by one of the best catches of an opening kickoff you will ever see.
Odell Beckham's size is something doubters will be latching on to as Odell comes in at an underwhelming 6 ft and 193 pounds. He occasionally avoids going across the middle and has moments where a lack of focus causes issues fielding punts. It is important to note that the same knock on Odell's size could be made about Sammy Watkins, the number one receiver prospect, as well.
Impact on the Giants
Overall, Beckham Jr. is going to prove to be a great draft choice for the New York Giants. He is one of the four or five receivers who can make an immediate impact for an NFL team and frankly, will be expected to.
The high school connections are easily the most bizarre.
"The quarterback went to the same high school, I got a wide receiver up there who I went to school with, and another wide receiver up there who I look up to who would be one of my mentors if I went up there," Beckham said. "I'm really just looking forward to wherever I land and the opportunity to be in the NFL."
Should we have seen the writing on the wall after Rueben Randle was openly recruiting Odell and telling him the Giants were actively looking to draft him? "I talk to Rueben every day," Beckham said, "and he says they're interested and if they can get me they'll get me."
Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is Eli Manning can't be any worse than he was during his historically bad 2013 campaign. And we also know that New York isn't the worst location for Odell.
The Giants will certainly need him to make an impact, as they ranked second-to-last in the NFL in Passing Net Expected Points on a per play basis last season:
|New York Giants||-.12||31st|
Taking a look at the 2013 season for the Giants top three receivers, it's clear that Odell has some big shoes to fill even in a "down" year from Hakeem Nicks. Odell is going to get his opportunities. over 100 targets for Hakeem Nicks a year ago are freed up and will be spread around to the receiving corps.
As you can see above, the Giants receivers left a lot to be desired as Victor Cruz came in at just 29th in Reception NEP among receivers with more than 30 receptions last year. And he was their most "accomplished" receiver last season.
Odell was a fringe first rounder before the combine, and has since been rising up draft boards at a rapid pace with multiple reports about multiple teams trying to trade up to select him. He will undoubtedly make a positive impact on the Giants franchise. The only question is: How soon will it take for the speed of the NFL game to slow down for Beckham Jr.?
What does 2014 look like?
Using our READ algorithm, we see some very interesting comparables for his rookie season.
|Greg Jennings||93.30%||2006||45 catches for 632 yards, 0 rushes for 0 yards, 3 TDs, 81 FP: (#53 WR)|
|Mark Clayton||93.29%||2005||44 catches for 471 yards, 8 rushes for 33 yards, 3 TDs, 68 FP: (#60 WR)|
|Torrey Smith||92.85%||2011||50 catches for 841 yards, 4 rushes for 39 yards, 7 TDs, 130 FP: (#23 WR)|
|Brian Robiskie||92.37%||2009||7 catches for 106 yards, 0 rushes for 0 yards, 0 TDs, 11 FP: (#117 WR)|
|Andre Roberts||92.04%||2010||24 catches for 307 yards, 40 FP: (#87 WR)|
|Deion Branch||91.62%||2002||43 catches for 489 yards, 2 rushes for 0 yards, 2 TDs, 61 FP: (#68 WR)|
|Brandon Jones||91.6%||2005||23 catches for 299 yards, 1 rushes for 1 yards, 2 TDs, 42 FP: (#84 WR)|
|Damian Williams||91.53%||2010||16 catches for 219 yards, 1 rushes for 5 yards, 0 TDs, 22 FP: (#113 WR)|
|Julio Jones||91.36%||2011||54 catches for 959 yards, 6 rushes for 56 yards, 8 TDs, 150 FP: (#17 WR)|
|Denarius Moore||91.32%||2011||33 catches for 618 yards, 5 rushes for 61 yards, 6 TDs, 104 FP: (#39 WR)|
|Cecil Shorts||90.9%||2011||2 catches for 30 yards, 0 rushes for 0 yards, 1 TDs, 9 FP: (#147 WR)|
|Kendall Wright||90.87%||2012||64 catches for 626 yards, 1 rushes for 4 yards, 4 TDs, 85 FP: (#55 WR)|
|Greg Little||89.96%||2011||61 catches for 709 yards, 3 rushes for 15 yards, 2 TDs, 84 FP: (#54 WR)|
|Darrius Heyward-Bey||89.8%||2009||9 catches for 124 yards, 2 rushes for 19 yards, 1 TDs, 20 FP: (#103 WR)|
|Brian Hartline||89.54%||2009||31 catches for 506 yards, 4 rushes for 29 yards, 4 TDs, 78 FP: (#58 WR)|
|A.J. Green||88.85%||2011||65 catches for 1057 yards, 5 rushes for 53 yards, 7 TDs, 153 FP: (#14 WR)|
|Dwayne Bowe||87.97%||2007||70 catches for 995 yards, 0 rushes for 0 yards, 5 TDs, 130 FP: (#24 WR)|
|Troy Williamson||87.86%||2005||24 catches for 372 yards, 3 rushes for 28 yards, 2 TDs, 52 FP: (#75 WR)|
While he doesn't look like he'll be a rookie sensation, his comparables most certainly point to a player with a very, very high upside. Greg Jennings and Torrey Smith were soon to become strong WR1 options for their teams, while Deion Branch was soon to be a Super Bowl MVP.
If you factor in his impact on the return game - something Andre Roberts and Deion Branch did quite a bit as a rookie - you've got a player who will contribute strongly to the team's net overall efficiency and give them a consistent playmaker for the future.