|Beckham Jr is welcomed by Commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2014 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy of the NFL|
BGB Asst Editor
When the New York Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. in the first-round of the 2014 NFL draft (12th), they had only one thing in mind....speed.
The WR out of LSU, who racked up over 1,000 yards last season and won the "Paul Hornung Award" recognizing the most versatile player in college football, will look to use his quickness down to the field to give the Giants another deep threat option outside of Victor Cruz.
Barring injury, there is no question that the man they call "ODB" will be a week 1 starter; with GM Jerry Reese stating that Cruz will only be used as an inside presence, it will be interesting to see how Beckham Jr. plays on the outside opposite of Reuben Randle.
When the coaching staff draft Beckham Jr. they had the belief that he could outrun many defensive backs in the NFL, and with excellent separation skills and route-running capabilities, his on-field presence will definitely give the Giants offense space to open up the field.
With the departure of Hakeem Nicks to the Indianapolis Colts, the Giants are in need of a receiver with good hands who can climb the ladder to make a catch. Nicks, who didn't manage to score a touchdown all of last season and was verbally unhappy with being on the team, will be long forgotten if Beckham Jr. can prove to be worth an early first-round pick.
While many criticized Beckham Jr. due to his height, standing at only 5-feet 11-inches, his separation will be crucial, while he can do some serious damage after the catch with quick feet to slip through defenders. During his time at LSU, Beckham Jr. was a return specialist and besides his 1,000+ reception yards on 59 catches, he was able set the LSU single-season record for all purpose yards with 2,315 total yards (including a 109-yard touchdown run off of a missed FG attempt).
Even though the Giants signed Trindon Holiday and Quinton Demps in the offseason, who will mainly serve as the kick/punt returners, the coaching staff has said that Beckham Jr. will definitely get some looks during camp.
The focus will be on another offseason move in the return of Mario Manningham, who spent the last two years with the San Francisco 49ers, but battled injuries while spending his time on the west coast. I think that the Giants coaching staff will not overwork Manningham in fear of another injury and may invest more time focusing on the progress of Beckham Jr.
In addition, the verdict is still out on Jerrel Jernigan, who finished the season with some solid numbers, but still remains inconsistent to the Giants offense and may have to battle Beckham Jr. during training camp for a significant role.
It will be interesting to see the type of formation that offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo implements for the Giants attack, but if they go with the traditional three receiver lineup, there is a good chance that Beckham Jr. will be on the field for a majority of the snaps.
Look for "ODB" to connect early and often with Eli Manning, and hopefully we will see him reach the endzone multiple times this season, showcasing the versatility and speed that he has.