The New York Jets have to have a solid backup plan if they can’t land one of the top receivers in the draft, and that is why studying the second tier of players at the position is so important. LSU receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. is climbing draft boards as we head towards the combine, and it’s starting to look like he could land in the late first round. However, depending on how the draft plays out, the Jets could be interested in Beckham at No. 18.
Beckham doesn’t have elite size at receiver (6’0″, 193 lbs) but he has very good straight line speed and explosive quickness. Beckham was productive in his junior year at LSU, catching 59 passes for 1,152 yards and 8 TDs, which were solid numbers in the Tigers’ balanced offense. Beckham also has some solid return credentials, which would certainly benefit the Jets.
Beckham’s explosiveness is a big asset for his route running, allowing him to be quick in and out of his breaks to create separation. He has good hands, but he isn’t a particularly physical receiver. Where Beckham shines is after the catch, where he shows an exceptional feel for the game and a natural ability to avoid tackles and create big plays. The Jets lacked a player like that this season, and Beckham’s ability to turn routine catches into significant gains is something that will certainly interest the Jets.
Despite the positives, it is hard to say that Beckham profiles as a No. 1 receiver. He has the versatility to play inside or outside and should be a solid playmaker at the next level, but ideally you would like Beckham to be your No. 2 receiver. That doesn’t mean the Jets won’t take him, but it could move him down the list. However, if the Jets land a top receiver in free agency, Beckham’s versatile skill set could look more appealing.
The Jets need all the help they can get at receiver, but in truth Beckham doesn’t seem like a great fit. That is not to knock Beckham’s ability or say he’s not a good prospect, but I don’t think he is exactly what the Jets are looking for. If the Jets can land a more traditional No. 1 receiver then they need to do that, and for that reason I think Beckham will only be a backup plan for the Jets on draft day.