With Hakeem Nicks’ production dropping off considerably the last two seasons, the New York Giants let him walk this offseason and he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Wide Receiver was one of the positions the Giants did not do much to address in free agency, waiting until the 2014 NFL Draft instead to fill the void left by Nicks. In steps Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver from LSU.
Beckham Jr. shot up draft boards as the draft moved closer and closer, becoming almost a unanimous choice as the second-best receiver in this draft class behind Sammy Watkins, who went fourth overall to the Buffalo Bills. Giving weapons to Eli Manning was an underrated hole the Giants needed to fill, and Beckham Jr. should do just that.
The exact role that Beckham will play in training camp will be decided with what he excels at during OTAs. Beckham is an explosive athlete who should receive plenty of playing time across from Reuben Randle as the other receiver in the formation. New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has been using a three-receiver set as the Giants’ base offensive formation thus far, with Victor Cruz playing in the slot flanked by Beckham Jr. and Randle.
The game-breaking ability he has with the ball in his hand could also be why he does not see as much time at receiver as people think. Even with the signings of Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday to bolster the return units, Beckham Jr. could factor in there as well. He has outstanding instincts in the open field, making him dangerous in the return game.
His work ethic is also something that had to have drawn head coach Tom Coughlin to the LSU product. He improved immensely during his years as a Tiger, as his ball skills and fluidness as a receiver increased the more he played. Beckham Jr. is also a fearless player, showing no hesitation about going over the middle and is a willing blocker.
The Giants are excited to get an athlete with the pedigree of Beckham Jr. He has good genes, as his mother was an All-American and National Champion Sprinter at LSU, while his father was a starting running back for the Tigers. He is a smart, mature player who can help the Giants in a number of ways.
He has experience running an extensive, pro-style formation tree from his time with LSU, and will bring back the vertical threat to the offense that the Giants have lacked with Nicks lacking burst and explosiveness after his foot surgery prior to the 2012 season. Beckham Jr. is a smooth, explosive athlete with outstanding top-end speed. His route running is outstanding, and he is extremely dangerous with the ball in his hand.
The Giants landed a great player when Beckham Jr. fell in their lap with the 12th pick. He should help get the Giants once explosive aerial attack back on track, while also helping jump start return teams that lacked many options last season. Beckham Jr. and the Giants are a perfect match for each other.