2017 Training Camp Preview: WR Odell Beckham Jr

How Odell Beckham Jr can go from being one of the top receivers in the league to the best.

WR Odell Beckham Jr
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 198 pounds
College: LSU
Exp.: 4th

Despite being one of the oldest NFL franchises, the New York Giants have never really had a player on their offense like receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham is a one-of-a-kind talent whose mere presence can create headaches for opposing defenses. He is also one of the most recognizable athletes in the league.

In many ways, he’s fast becoming like the Lawrence Taylor of his generation, a guy who warrants special game-planning, whose presence on and off the field draws curiosity, and whose star seems to be shining brighter every year.

But before we go putting Odell Beckham Jr. into the Hall of Fame with Taylor and the rest of the Giants greats, let’s remember that this is a young man who is just 24 years old and who has admitted to having still a higher ceiling for growth, not just as a player but also as a person.

 

Burning Questions

Before you do anything else, give it to me straight. Is he going to hold out of training camp? 

It makes no sense for Beckham to hold out now in the hopes of getting a new contract because, as the old saying goes, you can’t draw blood from a stone.

I went into detail about why Beckham is unlikely to get a new deal this year in this article, but if you don’t believe me, Beckham himself said during the mandatory minicamp that a holdout was not in the cards.

“I have seen the whole holdout and all of that stuff, and I have never really seen that work, so that was never in my mind, to not go to OTAs to get a new contract,” Beckham said. “I don’t really think that proves a point in my opinion.”

Of course not, because if he were to sit out until he got a new deal that the team would be very hard-pressed to deliver now, Beckham would also cost himself an accrued season if he were to put the bubble wrap around himself and sit this coming year.

 

Whew! So, you really think Beckham can get better? Seriously?

Absolutely. For starters, there is the red zone, where of his 26 targets last year, Beckham caught 10 balls (38.46 percent). Yes, there was double coverage most of the time, but there were also some missed opportunities.

What also has to improve is his overall reception percentage. Again, last year, he might have caught a career-high 104 balls but his reception percentage was 57.78 percent.

Here’s how that percentage compares to other receivers from last season who had at least 100 receptions:

Name Team Completions Targets Comp %
Fitzgerald, Larry ARI 111 161 68.94
Brown, Antonio PIT 110 164 67.07
Nelson, Jordy GB 100 160 62.5
Edelman, Julian NE 102 165 61.82
Beckham, Odell NYG 104 180 57.78
Evans, Mike TB 100 176 56.82
Source: NFL Savant

Again, we realize that part of the problem Beckham faced was Cover-2. However, he also had six dropped passes, tying him for eighth with several other receivers and tight ends for most in the NFL.

 

 

Okay, let’s go there. Any concerns about Beckham’s maturity?

Beckham has, whether he planned to or not, become one of the faces of the Giants franchise. That means he’s going to be held to a slightly higher standard as far as his behavior while representing the team.

By that we mean that he can’t be engaging in fisticuffs on the field, or drawing penalties that end up hurting his team.

He can’t be letting his emotions overcome him to the point where he becomes almost useless in a game. And he sure as heck can’t be banging his head against walls or punching holes in walls after a loss, acts that are not only immature but which can lead to injury.

No one is necessarily trying to change Beckham or alter his passion for the game. But it’s certainly not unreasonable for the team’s brass to expect him to control himself, especially in public and exhibit good sportsmanship, which is supposed to be the foundation in which the game is built.

 

Outlook

Despite slight dips in his production last year—his receiving yards, average yards per reception and touchdowns all dropped slightly from 2015’s totals—Beckham is still the best receiver this team has had in a long, long time.

But the Giants need for him to be better all around, something Beckham himself understands has to happen, which is why he seems as dialed into his training more so now than ever before.

“I’ve really been training, and to have these next six weeks and get another opportunity to train, it’s going to be great,” Beckham said, via NJ Advance Media. “Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything, I just don’t think I’ve ever been as ready as I am now.”