Scouting Report: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
Odell Beckham Jr. is a player we really believe in. On paper, he’s not the best receiver in the 2014 class, but we’re leading with him just to underscore how good we think the former LSU Tiger is. He reminds us a lot of both Randall Cobb and Percy Harvin as a receiver and as an athlete. While he’s not likely to play snaps at tailback as both Harvin and Cobb do at times, he is a very good open field runner and kick returner. Though he’s had a few stretches where he dropped some passes, Beckham Jr. has perhaps the best hands we’ve seen since we scouted Michael Crabtree. He can make circus catches and the tough catches in traffic too. We suspect he’ll be very consistent as a pro.
He’s a quarterback’s dream because while he’s a reliable receiver, capable of making the tough yards and the big plays, he’s also a smart instinctive receiver, who knows how to work back to the quarterback when plays break down. Odell is going to be some QB’s security blanket in the near future.
I hear some people questioning Beckham Jr.’s speed, but we see plenty of it on film. A poor combine could hurt his draft position a bit. Then again, if Beckham Jr. runs well, he could end up being drafted in or near the first round, which is where we have him rated now. The other obvious knock on Beckham Jr. is his lack of prototypical size. It's a factor and it's why receivers like Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans will almost assuredly be drafted in front of him. Still, as currently listed, Beckham Jr. is big enough to make a big impact with his skill set.
Odell showed nice growth as a collegian--getting better each year and peaking as a Junior in 2013. We see him as a receiver who can play right away at the next level, but also as a player who will continue to get better. You hear the term “play-maker” a lot. That’s what Beckham Jr. is. Here’s a breakdown of Odell’s attributes.
- Hands - I’m starting here because this is his calling card in our view. We love the way this kid catches the football. He tracks the ball extremely well and has outstanding concentration. He had some problems with drops at times and often on easier balls, but we really like the way he catches the ball and we expect him to end up being very dependable as a pro.
- Routes - He’s a solid route runner, but this is an area where he can get even better. This is a trend we see with LSU’s recent receivers for what it’s worth. Beckham shows excellent poise when plays break down and, as I mentioned, he knows how to work back to the quarterback.
- Running ability - This is an important one, because Odell can make people miss and he’s got good tackle-breaking ability for a man his size. He is dangerous in the open field and makes high quality cuts. This is very apparent if you watch him in the return game, which is another area where he can help a team at the next level.
- Defeating the jam - We see this as another key strength. Beckham Jr. is diverse in this area. He can use his outstanding quickness and agility against bigger defenders and he can use his strength and physicality against smaller ones. Playing press against this kid is a risky move. This will help him in terms of making the jump to the NFL.
- Play making ability - Beckham has a knack for making big plays and he can do it by beating his man as well as making defenders miss after the catch and in the open field. He has excellent body control and concentration. As I already mentioned, he tracks the football very well. This all helps him in contested situations, where Beckham is effective despite being a shade under six feet tall. He plays bigger than he looks.
- Flexibilty - He may be seen as a slot receiver by a lot of analysts, but his ability to beat the jam and his athleticism will allow to play both inside and outside, like Greg Jennings or Julian Edelman. As mentioned, Beckham can also help teams in the return game, so he can squeeze a lot out of a roster spot and make a wide range on contributions as a rookie.
- Speed - We’ll have a better idea of just how fast Beckham Jr. is after we see him at the Combine, but we think he’s plenty fast enough for the next level and we expect him to run well under 4.50. He looks 4.45 or better on film, but that’s just a guess. The bottom line is that film doesn’t lie, especially for guys who plays in the SEC. This kid has excellent functional speed in pads with the rock in his hands.
- Intangibles - Beckham Jr. has no negatives off the field. Both of his parents were standout athletes at LSU, with his father starting at tailback and his mother earning All-American honors as a sprinter. It seems sort of unfair from a genetic standpoint, and it could explain why Odell is such a confident athlete and why he competes so well. This kid is a coach’s dream too.
Here’s a decent highlight reel of Beckham Jr. that has a little bit of everything.
We’re as sold on Beckham Jr. as we were on Cobb and Harvin when they came out. Hopefully, Odell doesn’t get drafted by a team that will use him as a 4th receiver in his rookie year as Cobb did. Of course, Cobb did very well over the long haul because he gets to play with Aaron Rodgers. Beckham Jr. would make a ton of sense for a team like New England if they lose Julian Edelman in free agency.
We’ll hold off on proclaiming big redraft value for Beckham Jr. until we see where he’s going to be playing his games. We will almost certainly be recommending him as a long term option, but if he lands in a place where he should start right away, like Carolina or Washington, we’ll be really excited. There's little doubt in our minds that this kid has a future as a fantasy asset.
Odell Beckham’s Combine Numbers
- Height - 5’11”
- Weight - 198
- Hands - 10
- 40 - 4.43
- Bench - 7 reps
- Vertical Jump - 38.5”
- Broad Jump - 122”
- 3-Cone Drill - 6.69
- 20 YD Shuttle - 3.94
- 60 YD Shuttle - 10.93
As expected, Odell Was outstanding across the board with the exception on the bench press. Nothing changes in terms of our outlook. Beckham is one of the elite options in a very deep class. He should get taken in the top half of round one and should be a productive player as a rookie.
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