Having grown up in New Orleans with a dad that played football at LSU and a mom that ran track at LSU it wasn't a surprise when Odell Beckham Jr. decided to play him college ball up the road at Baton Rogue. As a Tiger, Beckham's impressive bloodlines were evident as his natural athleticism allowed him to make an impact on a deep LSU team as a true freshman. Not content with just making an impact, Beckham Jr. built upon his innate speed, fluidity and toughness to become a complete wide receiver during his three seasons at LSU. His improvement was on display last season as Beckham Jr. caught 59 catches for 1,152 yards and 8 touchdowns and set a LSU record with 2,222 all purpose yards.
As an NFL prospect Beckham Jr. was considered a 1st to 2nd round player before his impressive combine highlighted his athleticism. After that performance Beckham's stock skyrocketed as NFL scouts went back and examined his game tape to find a talented wide receiver with an extraordinary upside. Now just days before the draft Beckham Jr. is seemingly a lock for a top 16 selection and multiple teams in the latter half of the 1st round are trying to package picks in order to snag the former LSU star.
Dangerous In Space: Elusive, makes dynamic cuts, great vision to see cutback lanes, can turn and accelerate extremely quickly, has enough power to run through arm tackles, dangerous on bubble screens, quick slants etc. and is always looking to make a big play.
Fluid Athlete/Route Runner: Great route runner that can create separation with his route running, extremely quick in and out of his breaks, drops his hips well, can plant his foot and explode laterally, great understanding of where to sit down against zone coverage, adept at running double moves, sets up his breaks well by leaning the opposite way and simply gets open.
Explosive Return Man: Great acceleration and vision, adequate speed to shoot through gaps, nice cutback move to make defenders miss, had multiple big returns at LSU including two punt return touchdown and one missed field goal return touchdown and will be able to handle all of the return duties for an NFL team.
Wins at the Catch Point: Wins 50/50 balls despite his smaller stature, great vertical leap to attack passes thrown high, massive hands to snag the football, plays bigger than his size and made multiple big time catches at LSU.
Takes the Top Off a Defense: Averaged nearly 20 yards a catch last season, has good vertical speed, great acceleration to get up to top speed and create early separation, uses his route running ability to get good position, fights well for the football and can stretch/take the top off a defense .
Top End Speed: Lacks the final gear to separate from defenders in the open field, was caught from behind a few times at LSU, prevents him from taking returns to the house, limits his ability to dictate coverages and is more quick that fast.
Size: Under 6 foot, was effective against press coverage in college with his quickness but worries about his ability to fight off bigger NFL corners and limits his potential impact at the NFL level.
Overall: Beckham is a complete receiver that can win at every level of the field primarily due to his incredible blend of agility, acceleration and vision. While more athletically gifted receivers like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans, faster receivers like Brandin Cooks and bigger receivers in Kelvin Benjamin, none of those elite prospect have the complete polished game that Beckham Jr. has.
Just watching him run routes is impressive as he fluidly gets in and out of his breaks creating valuable separation. Or how despite his smaller stature Beckham Jr. manages to come up with big time contested catches. Or how dynamic he is with the ball in space. The list goes on and on.
Better yet Beckham Jr. minimizes his weaknesses-- it should be noted that after watching 12 of Beckham Jr.'s game I could not come up with enough examples to create GIFs of his lack of size/speed-- with technique and willpower. With that kind of complete game and production in the SEC it is no wonder why Beckham Jr. has flown up draft boards into a potential top 10 pick.
Prediction: Top 12 Picks
Other 2014 Wide Receivers: