Grading The New York Giants’ First-Round Selection of WR Odell Beckham Jr.
On Thursday night, the New York Giants selected Odell Beckham Jr., WR from LSU with their first pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. He fills a need for the Giants, as they failed to fill the void left behind by Hakeem Nicks in free agency.
He is not the biggest player, standing just 5-foot-11 and weighing 198 pounds, but he makes up for it with top end speed, quickness and explosiveness. He is a smooth route runner and has good experience in a pro-style offense that required him to know an extensive route tree.
Beckham Jr. is also extremely durable. He did not miss a game in his LSU career, making 34 starts and playing both offense and special teams in all 40 games. He has plenty of toughness, even with his average stature.
He should become a weapon quickly in first-year coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense. You can expect Beckham to get plenty of opportunities throughout the season on quick hitters like the bubble screen — plays capable of being turned into big gains and will keep Eli Manning upright more often than not as the ball will be out of his hands quickly.
Beckham will also add a dimension to the Giants’ offense that was sorely lacking with Nicks’ drop off in production in the vertical passing game. His great speed should help get the vertical passing game back on track, which is something he excels at. Beckham Jr. had 26 receptions on pass attempts that traveled over 15 yards.
His ability to take the top off the defense will give Manning a legitimate deep threat and should help Victor Cruz as well. With Beckham on the outside, the threat of him going deep should open the middle up for Cruz to do his work in the slot.
The speed that Beckham possesses makes him extremely dangerous in the open field and with the ball in his hands after the catch. It will also be a weapon for the Giants to use on special teams. They added return specialists in Quintin Demps and Trindon Holiday in free agency, but adding another option to what was a lackluster return game last season is not a bad thing.
While Beckham Jr. will surely help the Giants, he does have some question marks. He needs to improve his focus and efficiency catching the ball. His consistency is a problem still, as he drops some catchable passes and sometimes struggles pulling the ball in through traffic. Ball security is also a problem at times for Beckham on offense and special teams.
It was surely a surprise to some when Beckham’s name was called with the 12th overall pick. With players such as offensive tackle Zack Martin of Notre Dame and defensive tackle Aaron Donald of Pittsburgh still available and both playing a position of major need, it was a slight upset pick. Still, Beckham Jr. was a need pick for the Giants and should help them out right from the onset. If they had known how the rest of the first round would play out and how many WRs fell to the second round, it is hard to believe they would pass on Martin or Donald still. The Giants still receive a B+ for this pick.