Conundrum with Vikings visitor Green-Beckham

The Vikings are working due diligence on WR Dorial Green-Beckham, one of the most talented receivers in the draft with a history of off-field concerns.

Similar to meeting with cornerback Marcus Peters, the Vikings are scheduled to visit with receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. The two didn’t play together and don’t even play the same position, but there is good reason for the Vikings to spend extended time with each because of questions raised about their character.

Both are considered to be at or near the top five in their position, and they are both among the predraft visits for the Vikings, according KSTP-TV.

Despite trading for Mike Wallace and his $9.8 million salary, the Vikings still appear to be in the market for a receiver, and Green-Beckham brings with him a mix of intriguing athleticism and off-field questions. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, he has drawn comparisons to both Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, with a build more like Johnson’s and a playmaking ability similar to both with long arms (32½ inches), wing span (79¾ inches) and decent vertical jump (33½ inches).

But the baggage is also prevalent. Green-Beckham left Missouri last April for Oklahoma, but never played there because his request was denied by the NCAA due to transfer rules.

With a single mother who had six children, he never knew his father and lived in several foster homes before his high school coach adopted him and his brother. His legal issues started his freshman year at Missouri when he and some teammates were arrested on marijuana charges. He pleaded guilty and was suspended.

He was arrested in January 2014 once again for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute but was never charged.

Then last April he was involved in another brush with the law, allegedly forcing his way into an apartment and pushing a female down at least four stairs, but he wasn’t arrested in that incident. However, he was dismissed from the Missouri program, leading to his attempt to transfer.

“All the decisions I’ve made, I wish I could take it back. It happened. I was young. I made mistakes. I understand that. I just want to focus on one thing and just look forward to just this draft and being the best I can be,” he said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“I know what’s at stake. I know what type of person I am. I understand what the NFL is looking for (from) me as a person.”

Still, there is no doubt the athletic talent is there, even if he never fully established himself in college. After an impressive succession of three seasons to start his high school career, including receiving totals of 801 yards, 1,616 yards and 1,706 yards, he was even better as a senior, when he caught 119 passes for an incredible 2,233 yards with 24 touchdowns.

He also lettered in track and won state titles in the 100 meters and triple jump and placed second in the long jump as a sophomore.

As a freshman at Missouri, he appeared in 11 games, sitting out the Vanderbilt and Alabama contests because of his initial suspension). In 2013, he caught 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns before his dismissal from the team during the 2014 offseason.

All told, he started 15 of 25 games at Missouri, catching 87 passes for 1,278 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Here is the scouting report on him from draft analyst Dave-Te’ Thomas:

To most scouts, the often-troubled pass catcher also reminds them of Josh Gordon on the football field, but also appears to be following the Browns receiver’s pattern off the field. Numerous issues led to him leaving Missouri. On the field, at 6-foot-5, he’s not going to “get small” and slip past the crowd, so he has to utilize his size and strength to fight for yardage.

He impressed teams at the NFL Scouting Combine in the agility tests, especially in the speed drills. At 237 pounds, some tight end-needy team in a draft absent of any decent depth at tight end, might let his frame mature at that position, while also knowing that his quickness and stride will allow him to be equally effective if aligned wide.

Green-Beckham runs hard and once he breaks free his burst lets him beat even the speedy defenders in attempts to take the ball to the house. He excels on crossers and sideline throws, using his strength and size to shield the ball from defenders. He has strong hands to secure the ball before running and the second gear to turn a short pass into a long gainer.

The former Missouri Tiger is a smart player who needs only normal reps to retain. He plays with good vision and instincts, but needs to improve his timing on jump ball situations. He understands the coverage and will have no problems grasping the mental side of the playbook.

The receiver knows how to use his size and arm extension to get a quick release off the snap. He shows good closing speed running under sideline throws and the quickness to get into his routes without being impeded. He shows the burst to escape the press, but looks a bit stiff when changing direction. His size and strength lets him consistently beat the jam, and with his speed he can run up a cornerback in an instant.

Green-Beckham is a good power receiver on crossers and sideline throws, using his strength and size to shield the ball from defenders. He has strong hands to secure the ball before running (no fumbles) and the second gear to turn a short pass into a long gainer. You can see that he can reach top speed instantly, but his long stride could surprise a lethargic defender.

It is rare to see such a long strider gain ground and separate in space like Green-Beckham can. He uses his speed well to get deep, but is best when used on crossers and sideline routes than when going up the seam (better downfield than on deep routes, as he tends to lose sight of the ball over his head). He has the quickness to challenge deep, but there were times in 2013 that he had to run a double move to get open.

Green-Beckham has the second gear to escape or he can use his strength to get physical in attempts to separate. He has that burst along the sidelines that let him escape company on his routes, but he needs to show better hip sink on his cuts. Because of his size, he lacks the hip wiggle to elude when working in a crowd.

Working along the sidelines, he is much more effective at using his speed to elude. He also knows how to use his body and has a knack for finding the open spots in the zone. In man coverage, he is very adept at using his burst to separate consistently, as he shows the ability to pull away after the catch once he is in the open field.

Green-Beckham lacks the “big mitts” you expect from a player his size (9-inch width), and while he shows he can reach and pluck for the ball away from his frame there are those few drops and bobbles. He can generate a strong jolt to defeat the press and works hard with his hands to sustain when blocking in-line. He is a natural hands catcher that can make the difficult grab, but when he drops some it is usually due to concentration issues.

The receiver is an imposing figure off the line with a combination of quickness and strength to gain ground and position off the ball. He is a long strider and can eat up the cushion, and in tight coverage, he uses his size well to out-muscle his way through traffic. His body also serves well when shielding defenders from the ball on underneath routes. He is effective at pushing off defenders to work his way back to the ball.

On draft day, some team will overlook his mounting off-field issues, only because they recognize he is a player with explosive speed and when he gets into the open field he has the burst to finish. If his head is in the game, he is not a player who will let passes get into his pads.


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