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Name: Odell Beckham Jr
Weight: 198 lbs.
image by Morgan Searles courtesy lsureveille.com
Strengths: Beckham is fast, but not just in a straight line. He can use his speed to gain separation, yes, but his routes are quick as well and he can accelerate through his breaks, making it easy for defensive backs to fall behind and stumble. Beckham is able to change gears both during routes as well as after the catch, making him a slippery guy to cover and contain. He’s worked to improve his hands as well (though he still has work to do), and does a good job going up and getting the ball in the air. Beckham has a nice, big catch radius as well, despite not having above-average height and adjusts well to the ball in the air and can catch it in stride without losing speed. He can also contribute on kickoff and punt returns, but was much less effective on the latter.
Weakness: Beckham has average height and not a ton of strength, but he does seem to have the frame to get bigger/stronger. The 4.43 speed at the combine was nice, but it doesn’t always translate on the field and he could get caught from behind by NFL-level defensive backs. While Beckham has improved hands, he still struggles with some drops and can’t be relied on across the middle where he sometimes seems to hear footsteps. Beckham doesn’t always come down with balls he needs to fight for and I’d like to see more toughness in that area of his game—a little more “my ball” mentality. He’s not great at blocking and needs to improve that aspect of his game. Struggled against top teams like Alabama and Florida as well as Texas A&M though he did well against a No. 9 ranked Georgia. And while he can shag punts and kicks, his work on punt returns leaves something to be desired. Rarely found the end zone before this year, scoring just 12 touchdowns on 143 receptions.
Intangibles: By all accounts, Beckham is a very dedicated, very hard-working receiver. He also certainly shows a passion for the game, which translates into more focus on both of the above traits..
Notes: If he were more consistent or fought harder for the ball, Beckham would probably be higher on the list, but that, his height and lack of elite game speed drag his value down. It will be interesting to see how the acceleration and extra gears he shows on film are enough to get past faster corners in the NFL. I could see him out of the slot or maybe as the “Z” if he can show that the speed he flashed at the combine—and what he showed on tape—combine to work at the pro level.
image by Jerry Ward via SportsNola.com