With the No. 12 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr. out of LSU. Although the pick wasn't a complete surprise, it did catch some Giants fans off-guard. Big Blue is a team that already has two young wide receivers on its roster that are young and full of potential. Why draft another when the team had holes in other areas?
Well, there's something to be said for drafting the best player available, no matter what position that prospect plays. It's safe to say that's what the Giants were thinking with Beckham, but for the move to pay off, the young receiver must prove to be an impact player sooner rather than later. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was brought in so that the Giants could improve right away, and Beckham can be a big part of that if McAdoo can take advantage of the rookie's speed and athleticism.
Those skills allowed Beckham to gain 1,152 yards and score eight touchdowns on just 59 receptions during his junior year at LSU. Translating impressive numbers like that from college to professional football isn't always simple, though. Plenty of first-round receivers have come into the NFL with a highlight reel bursting with big plays only to flame out quickly because they never found a role in the pros.
Fortunately, McAdoo is coming from Green Bay, where another speedy youngster, Randall Cobb rose from unproven rookie to the team's most valuable receiver in just two seasons.
For Beckham to become a top player like that with the Giants, he'll need to start getting snaps right away, but that could prove difficult considering the team's depth at wide receiver. Rueben Randle is entering his third season in the NFL and appears poised to line up across from Victor Cruz as the team's second receiver on the depth chart.
Fortunately, the Giants could play three wide receivers as part of their base offense this year, but if Beckham wants to work out of the slot, he'll have to fend off Jerrel Jernigan and Mario Manningham, both of whom are more familiar with the Giants and have proven their worth with big games in the past.
Even with so many competitors on the roster, it's easy to see Beckham's talent shining through and allowing him to catch between 30 and 40 passes for 500 yards and a couple of touchdowns as he's rotated in and out with the other receivers. If the rookie is able to win a starting job with a strong training camp, Beckham could do much more, but until the roster become clearer with training camp, we'll stick with a more modest projection.