Drafting wide receivers early is not a common occurrence when it comes to the Patriots, but when you have the 32nd pick, drafting the most talented player available is the goal. Ex-Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is the type of talent that may be hard to pass on when New England is on the clock, regardless of the issues he's had in the past with two marijuana arrests and an accusation of assaulting an 18-year-old woman, an incident he ultimately was not charged for. Green-Beckham was removed from the Missouri team and he decided to transfer to Oklahoma, but before he ever played a down as a Sooner, he decided to declare for the NFL draft.
In 1998, a super-talented wide receiver with off the field issues similar to Green-Beckham slipped all the way to 21st where he was scooped up by the Minnesota Vikings. This receiver turned out to be the best receiver in football from the moment he walked on the field. The Patriots passed on this receiver in that draft, but when he became available in 2007, New England pounced on him and got him into a Patriots uniform, where he proceeded to break the touchdown reception record for one season and put up strong numbers for just over three seasons. His name is Randy Moss, and he proved that although he had growing pains in college and a few blips in behavior as a pro, he was ultimately a great talent and teammate that brought the New England offense to heights they had never reached. If they could do it again, would they have taken Moss in '98? My guess is they would, and this is where they stand when it comes to the decision regarding Green-Beckham.
From 2008-2011 at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Missouri, Dorial Green-Beckham wasn't just a prospect with good size, he was a certified star. Green-Beckham was the Rivals.com High School Junior of the Year in 2010, USA Today High School All-American (2010,2011), USA Today Offensive High School Player (2011), Sporting News High School Athlete of the Year (2011), and he capped off his accolades by winning the coveted Hall Trophy (2011) which is also referred to as the U.S. Army National Player of the Year. One of the reasons for the comparison to Moss is not only the physical gifts, but also the overwhelming production when he's on the field. As a high school freshman, Green-Beckham racked up 37 catches for 801 yards and 13 touchdowns; those are remarkable numbers for a senior, never mind a freshman. In his sophomore year, Green-Beckham basically doubled his output, totaling 66 catches, 1,616 yards, and 23 touchdowns.
The growth continued as a junior; Green-Beckham finished 2010 with 78 receptions, 1,706 yards, and 15 touchdowns. He finished off his senior year in style, wrapping up his career with 119 receptions, 2,233 yards, and 24 touchdowns. Green-Beckham did hold the all-time high school receiving yards record, but that mark was broken in 2013. Like Moss, Green-Beckham excelled in other sports too, namely track and field. As a sophomore, Green-Beckham was named the Gatorade Missouri Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. He was the Missouri Class Four State Champion in the 100 meter and the triple jump. With his ridiculous speed and size, it was pretty clear that Green-Beckham was a can't miss prospect that would add a huge presence to the Missouri Tigers offense.
When Green-Beckham arrived at Missouri, he immediately became an important part of the offense. He appeared in 11 games as a true freshman, compiling 28 receptions, 395 yards, and five touchdowns. Although his reception number was slightly low, his 14.1 yards per catch made him a threat to take it the distance on every catch. That is a talent that simply can't be taught. That talent shined through in 2013; Green-Beckham started 14 games, accumulating 59 catches, 883 yards and 12 touchdowns. Green-Beckham continued picking up large chunks of yardage, averaging just under 15 yards per catch.
Unfortunately for Tiger fans, this would be the last they'd see of Green-Beckham due to another off the field problem. After the burglary/alleged assault of a woman issue, Missouri had seen enough and pulled Green-Beckham' scholarship. His issues had outweighed his production, always the death knell for big time athletes. Green-Beckham quickly moved on to Oklahoma, but instead of spending a season in Norman fixing his reputation, he decided to roll the dice and enter a draft that is deep at receiver.
Green-Beckham is most likely going to be drafted in the first round for his physical talent alone. In Indianapolis, he ran the forty in 4.49 seconds, but he struggled with the bench press (13 reps) and his vertical, which isn't terrible (33.5 inches) is not as strong as some of the other top receivers. Seeing that he is 6'5, the vertical won't be a big problem, but the lack of upper body strength is going to be a problem. Cornerbacks are going to try and jam the big wideout, and he'll have to adjust his game to the pro level, which requires as much strength as it does speed. Another requirement in the NFL is strong character and the ability to walk away from bad situations, and Green-Beckham has proven that he doesn't have that ability.
The reports out of Indianapolis regarding the player/team meetings are not positive either, so Green-Beckham is in a tough position, as are the NFL teams that are interested in him. His talent is undeniable, as was Moss' when he was coming out of Marshall, but does the risk outweigh the reward? Will the Patriots gamble on a player who was caught in a car with a pound of weed, especially after the Hernandez situation? The bottom line is NFL teams are tired of having to babysit players, especially considering the amount of money they have to gamble on these questionable prospects. If Green-Beckham didn't have issues, he'd probably be a top ten pick, but the fact that he just couldn't keep himself out of trouble is going to hurt his draft stock and his paycheck.