Scouting Report: Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri
Risk meets upside
If there’s a more polarizing wide receiver prospect in the 2015 draft than Dorial Green-Beckham, I haven’t heard of him. Green-Beckham is the latest in a long line of talented albeit risky prospects and while I’d love to give you total clarity as far as how you value him, I really can’t. There’s just no way to ascertain the crucial information with a kid like Green-Beckham. His off-field issues are far from minor and he hasn’t played in a real game since 2013. What I’m going to do here is explain what DGB’s upside is, and, in the conclusion, I’ll take a stab at valuing him with both his risks and upside in mind.
The first thing I want to do is destroy the myths. I’ve read in some places that this kid is a freak talent like Megratron or AJ Green. Let’s end the suspense. He is not that type of athlete. That being said, he’s on the next level. Don’t think Megatron. Think Plaxico. And, that goes for off the field as well as on it. Now, in fairness, Green-Beckham’s playing style is more reminiscent of Johnson than Burress, but I’m talking more about athletic caliber here.
The crucial questions with this prospect relate to character and desire. If he answers those two questions positively, it will go a long way to answering the ultimate question…. Can this player make the commitments, both long and short term, that are required to be a top flight NFL player? If he can, he’s going to be a good one.
Green-Beckham was bombarded, justifiably so, with questions about his past when he took the podium (yes, they gave him a podium) in Indianapolis.
His answers were programmed and he was clearly nervous, but he gets some points for dealing with the moment. I’m not sure how many times he said “be the best teammate I can be”, but it was a lot. He obviously had a short list of talking points to work with and he stuck to them. I’d call it a throwaway presser. The real tell will be what the teams were able to get out of him in the individual meetings and we’ll find out about that on draft day.
DGB’s combine numbers were quite solid.
- Height - 6’5”
- Weight - 237
- Hand - 9”
- 40 - 4.49
- Bench - 13 reps
- Vertical - 33”
- Broad - 9’11”
- 3-Cone - 6.89
- 20 Yd Shuttle - 4.45
- 60 Yd Shuttle - 11.89
There’s nothing here that was a big shocker. We expected bigger hands and we were pleasantly surprised with his 3-cone time. The rest, including his plus speed, was representative of his game film.
- Size - You can’t teach size, and Green-Beckham has it in abundance. He’s tall but he’s got enough beef, at 237 pounds to make a 6’5” frame work. If his potential is fully realized, he’s a potential matchup nightmare at the next level. He’s got legitimate freak size.
- Speed - While he’s a long way from Megatron freakiness, he’s got enough speed to cause major problems for any single defender.
- Red zone - He’s pretty good at using his body to box-out defenders and he’s got that my-ball mentality we like to see. He could be a red zone monster if things break right.
- Ball skills - His height combined with long arms make him a tough guy to defend when the ball is in the air. He can high-point the football with regularity.
- Deep threat - If he develops, this should be a signifiant part of his game because he can run well for big-bodied receiver and he tracks the ball skillfully.
- Agility - For a big man, Green-Beckham has plus agility and gets in and out breaks effectively. This is significant because it helps him establish body position in a lot of instances. It also means his routes have a chance to improve over time as a pro.
- Athleticism - Green-Beckham is a good all-around athlete. I'm throwing this in just to put a finer point on the lack of freakiness relative to the likes of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. While he's not on the top shelf, he is on a high shelf. He's still a plus in this category.
- Blocking - He’s got plenty of upside here, but his diva reputation comes into play. If he buys into the offense he gets drafted into, this area should improve with all the others. Teams like Philadelphia would be very interested in this player assuming they can reconcile his character issues.
- Production - He was productive in 2013 (12 touchdowns in the SEC) and may have done even more in 2014 if he had been allowed to play.
I’m showing the Kentucky game because it displays the player’s full skill set, but it would be a mistake to judge him solely on this game against a mediocre opponent. What you see here is the player’s upside. There are three more games for DGB at DraftBreakdown, and they’re worth a look see.
Drafting a talent like Dorial Green-Beckham is always a loaded proposition. Some people will tell you that “he’s not worth the risk.” Of course, any good fantasy player understands that risk is a relative thing. If we are talking about a first round selection, then I can see that comment and nod my head in agreement. However, there comes a place in any kind of draft where the element of risk isn’t as big a factor—where downside is trumped by upside. And, if this player has one thing, it’s upside.
Finding the right place is the key to selecting Green-Beckham and landing him at reasonable value.
I’ll be taking my cues from the NFL to a large extent. The earlier this guy gets taken, the better his character checked out at the combine and in private visits not to mention private investigations. In the wake of Josh Gordon, no amount of talent will allow a team to take a player who is seen as volatile.
I often say that location is the key for young players. You can double-down on that being the case with Green-Beckham. He needs the right kind of leadership. He needs to accept coaching. He needs mentors and credible people to push him. He needs these things even more than he needs a good quarterback.
For me, to draft him over a more secure asset in long term leagues, I need him to be in a good situation. A place like Cleveland, Oakland or Chicago would concern me. If he lands on a team with veteran leadership, like Seattle, Atlanta or Kansas City, he could do well as a long term prospect. Rookie returns, while possible, cannot be counted on at this point. It’s best to view DGB as a long term investment. The upside on that investment is in the WR1 range in 12-team leagues with standard scoring.
Right now, there are five rookie receivers that I will take ahead of DGB and a few others nipping at his heels. I’ll adjust Green-Beckham’s value after the draft.
More 2015 Scouting Reports:
- Post Draft Rookie RB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft TE Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft QB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft RB Rankings
- 2017 Pre-Draft WR Rankings
- 2017 Pre Combine Rankings
- Postseason Cheatsheets
- Tight End Rankings Week 17
- Wide Receiver Rankings Week 17
- Running Back Rankings Week 17