The New York Giants had an awful season in 2013. With huge expectations at the receiver position that included a trio of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Rueben Randle, they should have been a potent attack with second year back David Wilson coming into his own.
None of that happened. Eli Manning was among the league’s worst quarterbacks. Hakeem Nicks didn’t score a single touchdown in what would turn out to be his final year with the team after being drafted in the first round just a few years ago. Cruz and Randle didn’t exactly pick up the slack. Not to mention, the defense suffered one injury after another and just couldn’t get anything going.
The Giants made wholesale changes this offseason, starting with revamping their secondary and letting go of Nicks, who signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
In the first round of the draft, they used the 12th selection overall on LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., a player I thought was one of the most ‘pro-ready’ receivers coming out in this year’s class.
Had Beckham been 6’1″ or bigger, he’d have competed with Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans to be the first receiver off the board. The Giants were expected to add a playmaker of some sort with their first pick, and with Watkins, Evans, and North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron already off the board, Beckham was sort of the consolation.
That being said, he could pay immediate dividends for a team in dire need of some explosiveness offensively, as well as in the special teams category.
When I watched Beckham play, the traits that stood out to me were how naturally he plays the position and how easy he makes catching the ball look. Coming from LSU, he has experience with an NFL-caliber route tree in Cam Cameron’s pro-style offense. He understands complex concepts that a lot of college receivers aren’t trained in.
He has excellent quickness, huge, soft hands, and speed to burn.
He almost has the build and running style after the catch or in the open field of a running back. His athleticism allows him an advantage over defenders even though he doesn’t necessarily have the height advantage. He made some sick catches against Iowa in LSU’s bowl game last year, and overall, I think is still coming into his own as a player.
Needless to say, at pick #12, the Giants got a guy who has an extremely high ceiling that can contribute immediately. I think he’ll open camp as the #3, and he can certainly work out of the slot at times as well, but I think the Giants will want to use him on the outside opposite Rueben Randle with Victor Cruz manning the slot spot.
There is versatility to his game, and an innate playmaking ability and knack for catching the football that seems so natural watching him play.
The Giants did really well with this selection, and Beckham Jr. is going to be making a name for himself right away in the NFL.