Now that the NFL Combine has come and gone, we have seen many prospects have their draft stock rise and fall. One name that you will be hearing more often referred to as a 1st round pick, and possibly even a potential pick for the Lions at #10 overall is Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ). OBJ had a very impressive combine, and is receiving plenty of recognition for it. This past Sunday, he ran an official 4.43 40-yard dash, which was just outside of the top 5 for all WR's. His 10-yard split was good for 2nd among all WR's at 1.50 behind Jeff Janis, who had a 1.47 split. He was also tied for 3rd among all WR's on his 20-yard shuffle at 3.94, and 3rd on his 60-yard shuffle at 10.93.
OBJ's strength seems to be a big question mark putting up only 7 reps on the bench press, and having a 2% percentile compared to other WR's.
Something that really stood out to me was how large OBJ's hands were compared to his size. Standing at just over 5'11, Beckham Jr's hands were measured in at 10". That's only 1/4 of an inch smaller than 6'5 WR Kelvin Benjamin and 3/8 of an inch larger than Mike Evans. His counterpart, Jarvis Landry also happens to be the same height, with the same sized hands. This could explain why Landry only had 2 drops all year for LSU last year, and why the duo was so reliable in the passing game for LSU.
"I WILL CRUSH YOUR TINY HEADS IF YOU DO NOT DRAFT ME"
Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry might have been the best WR duo in college throughout the past 2 years. Both were used in two different roles. Landry was their go-to guy when they needed a first down. He was the most reliable WR they had and only dropped the ball twice all year last year (you'll hear that a lot with him). OBJ was more of a deep threat for LSU. He had 13 less catches than Landry in 2012, but had 140 more yards than him. He also had 20 less catches than Landry last year, and only 80 fewer yards. It's clear that when you give OBJ the ball in open space, he's going to make some plays.
Strangely enough, with Beckham's superb speed and quickness, he was rarely given the opportunity to receive screens in LSU's offense. In fact, Landry received almost double the amount of screen passes that OBJ did at LSU.
As you see from the graphic above, Beckham was more of a deep route receiver, which will explain this next graphic below.
Beckham only ranks below Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin among the top WR's in terms of the average amount of yards over the line of scrimmage on passes caught. This explains why his yards after catch is lower than expected as well, since he wasn't given many opportunities to turn shorter routes into big yards.
Odell Beckham Jr. didn't have the most impressive drop rate, but it certainly wasn't bad either. He had some catches he probably could have snagged, but he made up for it by having some insane catches that you won't see many other WR's making.
Oh, and here's probably the best touchback catch you'll ever see.
One of the more underrated aspects of Beckham Jr.'s game is his ability to catch balls that are contested. Out of all the WR prospects in the upcoming draft, he's one of the best at locating the ball and adjusting his body so he can have the best possible chance at making the catch and beating his defender.
Here's a look at his tape against Mississippi State last year
0:00: Play-action pass. Bad camera angles, but for a 5'11 WR, he can really get up high and you can see why he scored a 38.5" vert at the combine.
0:24: Back shoulder throw from Mettenberger. OBJ locates the ball, times his jump perfectly, grabs it with both hands and braces for impact to secure the catch.
0:48: Looks to be a comeback route that is poorly thrown by Mettenberger and should have been thrown back shoulder. Still, OBJ shows his ability to extend his arms and make the tough catch away from his body.
1:00: Recognizes the zone coverage and takes advantage of it by parking himself a few yards in front of the deep safety to ensure a first down.
1:45: LSU looks to be in their hurry-up offense with 20+ seconds left in the half. They snap it quickly to Mettenberger, who quickly chucks it up to OBJ. OBJ is staring the ball down the entire play and once again times his jump perfectly while the DB had absolutely no chance.
2:18: Huge 4th and 2 play. Mettenberger tosses one up to a wide open OBJ. This is a pretty poorly thrown ball, and should have led him more towards the sidelines, but OBJ does a great job of adjusting to where the ball is and makes the catch anyways.
2:47: Simple comeback route to OBJ that he turns into a TD by immediately turning upfield in the opposite direction as the defenders who are completely off balance and have no shot at stopping him. Dagger. Shows how good he can be in open space and his ability to get the YAC.
While the Lions don't really have much of a need for a returner, it doesn't hurt to have a guy like OBJ that could step in and return some kicks if Ross goes down. Or perhaps the Lions end up keeping a talent like OBJ that can return and ultimately play more WR sets than Ross and end up taking his roster spot. OBJ led the SEC in kickoff return yards last year (806), and you can see why he's such a threat in the return game almost every time he touched the ball on special teams against UAB last year.
One of those plays (6:20) vs. UAB was similar to last year's Auburn vs. Alabama game where Davis turn a missed field goal back for a 109 yard TD return to win the game. Beckham did the exact same, minus the part where he won the game and had the crowd rush the field.
The only big question or concern I have with OBJ is where he'll play on the field. Will he be a slot WR or an outside WR? He has definitely shown that he can play on the outside at LSU. But most of his big statistical games were against schools with smaller DB's and less talented DB's. If he wants to succeed in the NFL, he's going to go up against a lot of press coverage, and judging from the combine results, he's not very strong. His 10-yard split is pretty incredible, however, so we know that he can be fast off the line.
OBJ is also a pretty poor blocker and sometimes completely misses his assignment on the field. He is also a much better kick returner than he is punt returner. There were a few instances where he made some bad decisions on whether to let the ball go or not, and also had a few fumbled punts.
Why We Should Draft Him
Odell Beckham Jr. is one of my favorite WR prospects in the draft. After reviewing all of his tape and watching him at the combine, I now have him as my #3 WR in this class behind Watkins and Evans, and slightly above Lee. He can run any route that you ask of him and he will run it flawlessly. He's very fluid in his movement and is great at finding separation on routes involving any sort of break. He can play either outside or slot, and if the Lions pick him up I'm assuming they would involve him in plenty of packages, and he would immediately replace Nate's role as the #2 WR. As much as I am a fan of OBJ, I do not feel like he is a top 10 prospect. But if the Lions choose that he is the guy they want at WR and they are not able to trade down, I would have a tough time arguing against it. Ideally, if the Lions choose to draft OBJ, I would prefer we trade down and add an extra pick in this years draft.
Why We Shouldn't Draft Him
Odell Beckham Jr. lacks the size that many are looking for in a #2 WR. He has very poor strength after only getting 7 reps cleared on his bench press at the combine. He was not tested enough against bigger and more talented DB's at LSU, so there are some concerns whether he'd be able to play as an outside receiver and consistently be able to get off the line of scrimmage and get open. He has great speed, but much better initial speed rather than top end speed, and there were instances when watching him on tape where some DB's would start to catch up with him.
WR Rankings (from this series so far)
3. Odell Beckham Jr.
4. Marqise Lee
5. Kelvin Benjamin
I have no idea who I will profile next right now. So I'll just surprise you guys. But please, discuss below and feel free to throw out some names you'd like to be profiled, and rec the post if you enjoyed it.