I hated doing school presentations after a student who just absolutely set the bar right before me.
They killed it.
Now you have to walk up there, and the only way your presentation looks impressive is if fireworks come out of nowhere or you’re riding a unicorn while presenting. Yours can actually be very, very good, but compared to the one before you, it’s like going from a Packers/Seahawks game to Thursday Night Football.
That’s what this year’s wide receiver class reminds me of.
It won’t ever live up to last year’s historic group of pass-catchers. You had Odell Beckham Jr., who became the first rookie wide receiver ever to post at least 75 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns– and he did it in 12 games. And no wideout has scored more fantasy points through their first 12 games (197) than Beckham. You also had Mike Evans, who finished with the sixth-most fantasy points we’ve ever seen from a rookie receiver. And don’t forget Sammy Watkins, who may already be a top-12 talent in this league, and caught nearly 70 balls for 1,000 yards and six scores in year one. Not to mention the tremendous play from Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry and Brandin Cooks, too. In 2015, we have a very deep wide receiver class, too, headlined by two top-notch prospects, but a handful of high-upside fliers make up the class.
You down with DGB?
We always tend to gravitate towards big-bodied receivers, and Dorial Green-Beckham surely doesn’t lack in size. Standing at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, Beckham will enter the NFL as one of the biggest wideouts in the league, and size like that should help Beckham make an impact right away, just as long as he stays out of trouble, of course. And while size is important, and it leads to touchdown receptions, DGB also has the combination that NFL teams like. He ran a 4.49 40 and can make big plays on bubble screens and such, on top of going up and plucking the football out of mid-air. However, he does have some flaws in his games, and the off-field issues are definitely a concern. If he wasn’t making headlines off the field, Green-Beckham could potentially be a first round pick, because he’s sure as hell a first round talent.
Green-Beckham has an interesting story. After being named the National High School Player of the Year, posting 6,353 yards and 75 touchdowns during his tenure, Dorial attended the University of Missouri, where he also saw football success. In 2013, he led the Tigers in receptions (59), yards (883) and touchdowns (12), making for a rather impressive sophomore year that put his name on the map. But off-field issues resulted in him being dismissed from the program, so he enrolled at Oklahoma in 2014, only to be sidelined for the entire season due to transfer rules. So it’s very difficult to gauge just what this guy can do at the NFL level, especially since we haven’t even seen him play in two years. Drug and assault allegations are no joking matters, and with all of players nowadays in the NFL getting into trouble, teams aren’t exactly rushing to draft a guy with a troubled background. Again, first round talent, later round character is a good way to classify Green-Beckham.
Let’s take a closer look.
You can’t teach 6-foot-5, 237 pounds. You just can’t. Having said that, teams love having a big time red zone target to utilize. Most successful NFL clubs have one of those guys. Rob Gronkowski in New England, Dez Bryant in Dallas, Jordy Nelson in Green Bay. And, of course, Green-Beckham is not close to any of those players. But teams tend to gravitate towards big bodies who can go up and get it. I mean, last year alone there were nearly 10 pass-catchers selected who were at least 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds. So what does DGB offer with his size and athleticism?
Again, that’s not exactly something that you can teach players to do. Beckham shows good body control, strong leaping ability, and relatively soft hands. He has one of, if not, the largest catch radius out of anyone in this draft class, and if he were in Madden, he’d more than likely have the “Spectacular Catch” trait. And because of his length, even if he sees a ball late or it’s overthrown, he still has the ability to haul it in. He has the ability to contort his body and adjust to make plays on the ball, even if the pass is a little bit off, or even in a better position for the defender.
I mean, come on…
And while he’s obviously a big time target in the end zone, DGB can make plays down the field, too. In 2013, he averaged an impressive 15 yards per catch, and because of his length, Beckham has those long, powerful strides to get him down the field. Not to mention, his 4.49 40-time is pretty impressive for a 6-foot-5, 240-pound wideout. He’s deceptively quick and uses that long-striding burst to get down the field rather quickly, and, of course, when the ball is in the air, the odds of him coming down with it are higher than most wideouts in this class. And for his size, he shows good burst after making a cut.
Now, other than the off-field news, there are still some flaws surrounding Green-Beckham. He’s still learning a full route tree and sometimes doesn’t fully use his size and strength to his advantage. His routes can be fairly sloppy and sluggish at times, which keeps him from creating separation from cornerbacks as often as he probably should. Beckham could also become more aware of the sidelines and where his feet need to be, especially considering he’s capable of being a premiere end zone threat.
Potential Landing Spots
Obviously, this kid has massive upside. Good triangle numbers, Green-Beckham reminds me of a less explosive version of Martavis Bryant from the Steelers, while presenting Brandon Marshall-like red zone promise. Of course, to become relevant in the fantasy world, landing on the right team is important.
That and staying out of trouble.
St. Louis Rams
How many years have the Rams needed a receiver?
With speedy guys like Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, it would make sense for St. Louis to give their new starting quarterback a big time target in Beckham. Last year wasn’t the most promising campaign for Nick Foles, but he does things that offer Beckham upside in fantasy. For instance, in 2014, no passer in the NFL attempted passes of at least 20 yards more often than Foles, who did so 19 percent of the time. Meanwhile, his average depth of target (aDOT) ranked seventh in football with 9.8. Assuming he stays out of the negative spotlight, DGB would see plenty of snaps in St. Louis and could easily lead the team in touchdown receptions. It wouldn’t at all shock me to see the Rams select DGB, the hometown boy, born in Springfield, Missouri.
San Francisco 49ers
Staying in the NFC West, I could also see the 49ers making a push for the talented wideout. General manager Trent Baalke isn’t afraid to invest in young talent. He did it with quarterback Colin Kaepernick just recently, as he rewarded him with a huge six-year contract extension. Baalke drafts for the future, and Beckham has the talent to be a future star in this league. We’ve seen him trade up for guys he’s wanted in the past (Carlos Hyde, Eric Reid), so given the raw talent of Green-Beckham, I’m not sure I’d be shocked if they selected him as high as 15th overall in the first round. The need is there, as Anquan Boldin will turn 35 in October, and their current number-three wideout is Quinton Patton. Kaepernick has one of the strongest arms in the league to get DGB the football.
Unless Miami takes him at 14…
They are revamping their receiving corp, as Mike Wallace is in Minnesota, Brian Hartline is in Cleveland, making newly acquired Kenny Stills their true number one wideout, while Jarvis Landry mans the slot role. That’s something he excelled at in his rookie season, and Miami needs a true, big outside target. Miami’s offense might regress a bit, but they still saw the second-most red zone scoring attempts per game last year, and if a guy who scored a touchdown every 5.1 receptions can see plenty of red zone looks, good things can happen.