With the No. 12 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, LSU. Find out how the former Tiger can help fix New York's broken offense.
Blessed with tremendous agility and quickness, Beckham was productive throughout his college career at LSU
. His freshman season saw him catch 41 passes for 475 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Beckham's sophomore season was very similar except for a big boost from 11.6 to 16.6 yards per reception, which allowed him to gain 713 yards on just 43 catches. Last year really allowed Beckham to put his explosiveness on display, though. He caught 59 passes for a whopping 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. That was good for 19.5 yards per reception, but many of those figures came in big chunks against non-SEC opponents.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, Beckham completed the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds, which was one tenth of a second off the pace of the fastest wide receiver run. At the bench press, Beckham's seven reps were a far cry off the 23 posted by Indiana's Cody Latimer, but Beckham is considered more of a "speed" guy than a "size" guy. He can still go up and get the ball in traffic, though, as displayed by his 38.5-inch vertical leap, which was ninth best among wide receivers.
The Giants did lack production at the wide receiver position in 2013, but considering how bad the offensive line and running game were, you have to wonder if that was really the fault of the wide receivers. Victor Cruz
had a subpar campaign but still managed to catch 73 passes for 998 yards. Rueben Randle
, who like Beckham, went to school at LSU, scored six touchdowns and looked like a future playmaker. With Hakeem Nicks out the door, Jerrel Jernigan
stepped up late in the season and showed he could have an impact in 2014. Where does this all leave Beckham? He'll likely be in a preseason battle with Jernigan for the third wide receiver role. Provided he wins that (not an automatic), he could cause major problems for defenses with his speed and agility in the slot.
Beckham probably doesn't have the height or physicality to become an elite, All-Pro caliber wide receiver like Calvin Johnson
or A.J. Green
. What he does have is enough speed and route running ability to be a reliable No. 1 receiver for a long time. With the ability to burn opponents on long passes and screen-type plays, the Giants are looking for Beckham to ignite the offense the way Cruz did when he burst onto the scene three years ago.
Cruz's height and skill set make him an interesting comparison for Beckham, but it's not known yet if the latter will develop the kind of ball skills that turned the former into an overnight sensation. Beckham probably won't gain over 1,500 yards in his first season the way Cruz did, but he still has a chance to become a great wide receiver in the mold of Antonio Brown
or Pierre Garcon
. Both are very productive NFL wide receivers who outperform their peers with superior speed, hands, and route running. Even without amazing height and leaping ability, these players are threats in the short- and long-range passing games. By choosing him No. 12 overall, the Giants must believe that Beckham can become such a versatile playmaker as well.