There were plenty of skeptics criticizing the Giants when they selected Odell Beckham Jr. out of LSU with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. By the time the season was done, no one could blame the team for choosing someone who could become one of the greatest wide receivers in the league.
The Professional Football Writers of America have named Beckham as their Rookie of the Year for 2014, but the 22-year-old’s NFL career didn’t get off to such an auspicious start.
Beckham was looking like a bust when he injured his hamstring at the outset of training camp and took a long time to fully recover. Fans anxious to see the first-round pick were disappointed when he sat out for the entire preseason and then the first four weeks of the regular season.
When Beckham finally did make his debut in Week 5 against the Falcons, fans found their patience rewarded when the talented wide receiver hauled in the game-winning touchdown in a third straight Giants victory. The fun didn’t really start, however, until a month later against Indianapolis.
Coming off a bye week, Beckham ripped off 156 receiving yards against the Colts. The effort flew under the radar in a disappointing Giants loss, but it marked the start of a ridiculous streak for Beckham. From that moment in Week 9 until the end of the season, Beckham wouldn’t have another game with fewer than 90 receiving yards. He would only have two games with fewer than 100.
Even though he was performing at a high level in a large media market, Beckham may not have burst onto the national stage if not for his unbelievable catch in Week 12 versus Dallas. With the Giants fighting for their playoff lives, Beckham reached behind his head and made a one-handed touchdown grab that is considered one of the greatest plays in sports for the year 2014.
After a quiet game in Jacksonville, Beckham finished off his historic campaign with seven touchdowns in his final four games. Despite sitting out the first four games of the season, Beckham still finished with 91 receptions, 1,305 receiving yards, and 12 touchdown catches.
During 2014, Beckham set the NFL rookie record for receiving yards per game at 108.8. He also became the first rookie since 1958 to post four consecutive 100-yard receiving games. The Giants haven’t before had an Offensive Rookie of the Year winner.
After a premier campaign that blew expectations out of the water, it’s hard to say what is next for Beckham. With a little more seasoning, he could become one of the top pass catchers in the NFL. That would be a treat to Giants fans who have had to sit through three straight non-playoff seasons since 2012.