LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr
Rumors have been swirling recently that the Detroit Lions are interested in, and may draft, Odell Beckham Jr in the first round of the NFL draft this year. This widely comes as a surprise as Beckham was thought of as a middle to late first round pick and the Lions pick in the top ten. So why would the Lions be interested in Beckham?
Odell Beckham stands 5’11” and weighs 198 pounds. He ran a 4.43 second forty yard dash and had a 38 1/2 inch vertical at the combine. His twenty and sixty yard shuttle times were in the top five for wide receivers. His bench press numbers were disappointing, only recording 7 repetitions. While upper body strength is not critical to being a good receiver in the NFL, it does help with the ability to get off blocks and be competitive in traffic.
Statistically speaking, Odell Beckham was not very impressive. While he did play in the NCAA’s top conference, always seeing top competition, he did not perform in a manner consistent with other top receivers Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. As a freshman, Beckham had 41 receptions for 475 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a sophomore though, he had 43 catches for 713 yards and 2 touchdowns. While he improved on his yards per catch, he did not show the ability to carry a load at the position like Davante Adams and Brandin Cooks. Both years he also only registered 2 touchdowns, which is low for someone that has play making ability. In his final season, as a junior, he had 59 catches for 1,152 yards and 8 touchdowns. While his statistics were much better in his final year, he still had a low number of catches. For a team looking to take the load off of Calvin Johnson, this has to be disappointing.
The reason draft pundits like Mel Kiper are looking at Odell Beckham as a potential pick for the Detroit Lions at the ten spot are his abilities. He is very quick and has an excellent burst as shown by his shuttle numbers at the combine. He is fluid in his movements and has shown that he can create separation consistently. Beckham has great leaping ability and is a play maker after catch, something that is attractive to the Detroit Lions and their explosive offense. He is also very competitive and has a little punt and kick return experience to give him added value.
Some of the concerns I have about him, especially as a top ten pick, is that he is inconsistent at times. That was most evident by his poor performances against top defenses like Alabama and Florida. Odell Beckham is short for his position, although that has shown in the past to not cause problems for NFL receivers like Hines Ward. He lacks speed to go with his quickness, so it is possible that he may not be able to outrun some NFL defenders after the catch as he did in college. Beckham needs to work on his route running, especially with his quickness and lack of speed so that he can effectively get open often. As shown by his low bench press numbers, he is not very strong. That causes him problems both in his blocking and when he is in traffic.
Overall, I do not like the idea of selecting Beckham at tenth overall. If Detroit trades down to the middle of the first round, then it could be advantageous to take him. With his weaknesses, he just does not seem to be the type of talent that you take that high in the draft. While some believe him to be their pick, I think it would be wise for the Detroit Lions to pass on Odell Beckham.