Last season, Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry became one of the most prolific wide-receiving tandems in all of college football. Today I will focus on the former.
At the ripe old age of 4, Beckham was already telling everybody that he would one day play in the NFL. Who could blame him? Like most kids, he was unabashedly confident about what he could become. But in reality, he wasn't just any old kid. Beckham's bloodlines were and still are laced with extraordinary athleticism. Just ask his dad who was a running back for LSU from 1979-1982. Or take a look at his mom who also attended LSU and ran track for the Tigers.
Nonetheless, Beckham isn't the type of guy who's interested in getting by on pedigree. From an early age, his parents taught him the value of humility and hard work. These virtues have stuck with him throughout his life and put him in position to accomplish his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL.
Although Beckham isn't a carbon copy(no on is) of Steve Smith, he does closely resemble the Panthers best receiver of all time. Not only did each of them produce comparable combine measurements in the speed, agility and leaping exercises(see below), but they also share the same drive to be great. Moreover, both of them were dynamic college play-makers as receivers and returners. The difference here is that Smith was the better returner and Beckham was the more advanced wide-out. The latter's technical ability should allow him to thrive as a receiver more quickly than the former did back in 2001. You may recall that Smith was primarily used as a returner in his first NFL season. The reverse will be true of Beckham. With that being said, I fully expect him to produce numbers like Smith did in his second season with the Panthers(54 Rec, 872 Yards and 3 touchdowns).
Here's the caveat for those who are as thrilled as I am about the possibility of drafting Beckham: He simply might not be available. Let me put it this way. Would any of you be surprised if the New Orleans Saints used their 27th pick to select him just in front of us? I'm sure Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton are just chomping at the bit to give Drew Brees and their prolific offense another weapon, especially one who played college ball right down the road.
If this scenario did somehow materialize, then I wouldn't be opposed to fighting fire with water. In other words, the Panthers should select CB Jason Verrett, who blanketed him admirably when they went head to head at the beginning of the 2013 season. In fact, he dominated the match-up so much so that he gave up only one uneventful reception. This isn't meant to degrade Beckham in any way because I believe he will win his fair share of battles at the next level. Ultimately, it's just another reason to pay close attention to the all of the movement before and during the draft.
So what about you CSR? What do you think of Beckham? Take a few minutes to examine his scouting report below and don't forget to grade my latest mock draft at the bottom of the page.
-Gifted athlete who excelled against the best defenses(SEC)
-Able to blow the top off any coverage with his elite speed
-Displays breakaway speed to run away from chasing defenders
-Separation almost immediately achieved when coming out of his release
-Quickly gets in and out of his breaks
-Above average return skills
-Compact movement and near flawless technique regularly fools defensive backs
-Tremendous leaper who can snatch passes out of the air at its highest point
-Physical toughness to hold onto passes in traffic and after taking big shots
-Large and reliable vise grip hands(10-Inches)
-32 3/4 inch arms give him more than enough catch radius to haul in errant passes
-Top shelf shiftiness and cutting ability leaves defenders tackling air
-Uses outstanding balance and body control to track passes regardless of how his position relates to the ball's trajectory
-Recognizes zone coverage and subsequently finds the soft spots between defenders
-Operates extremely well on the outside and in the slot
-Impeccable work ethic
-Seriously strong desire to be great
-Tirelessly works to improve his craft
-Still only 21 years old and won't turn 22 until the middle of the 2012 season(November 5)
-Improved dramatically for three consecutive seasons
-Less than ideal height at 5-Foot 11-Inches
-Lacks necessary strength at this point to be a consistently effective blocker
-Occasionally drops passes due to concentration lapses
-Experienced drop off in production against some of the more elite teams and cornerbacks
Odell Beckham Jr and Steve Smith Comparative Combine Metrics
* Denotes Top 5 Performance at the Combine
|Player||Forty||10 Split||BP||Vert||BJ||3 Cone||20 Shutt||60 Shutt|
2013 Detailed Statistics
|#18 Texas A&M||Home||5||50||10.0||0|
2014 Carolina Panthers' Mock Draft- 9.0
|1||WR Odell Beckham Jr||5' 11"||198||LSU|
|2||CB Kyle Fuller||6' 0"||190||Virginia Tech|
|3||OT Billy Turner||6' 5"||315||North Dakota St|
|4||WR Devin Street||6' 5"||198||Pittsburgh|
|5||SS Vinnie Sunseri||5' 11"||210||Alabama|
|6||CB Walt Aikens||6' 1"||205||Liberty|
|7||RB/KR/WR Dri Archer||5' 8"||173||Kent State|