Draft Daily: Close-Up On LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Iowa vs Louisiana State

The Eagles took five players in the first five rounds of last year’s draft.

After each selection, head coach Chip Kelly stood at the podium at the NovaCare Complex and explained the pick. When describing four of the five players, he used some version of one of his favorite words: versatile. The only player who didn’t draw the label was QB Matt Barkley.




So it stands to reason that the guy who won college football's Hornung Award, given to the nation's most versatile player, would be on the Eagles' radar heading into May's draft. That player is LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

Beckham (5-11, 198) caught 59 balls for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns last season, averaging 19.5 yards per catch. He was also the Tigers' return man and excelled specifically on kickoffs (26.4 yard average, 20th in the nation).

Beckham's stock has risen during the pre-draft process. He is now considered by many to be an absolute first-round prospect, and some like NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah think Beckham could be a top-10 selection.

But as we see every year, the draft is unpredictable, and there's certainly a chance that Beckham could slip and be someone the Eagles target. Aside from his production, one reason Beckham is attractive is he tested extremely well at the combine, running a 4.43 40:

As you can see, he rated highly in other categories too, showing good short-area quickness and leaping ability, in addition to the straight-line speed.

Beckham made a lot of plays downfield for LSU. Per Rotoworld, his average catch came 13.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, and 62 percent of his catches were on throws that traveled 10 yards or more downfield.

One thing Chip Kelly will surely like about Beckham is that he can line up both inside and outside. Without having specific numbers at my disposal, I'd guess he lined up more in the slot than any other wide receiver we've written about in this space so far. Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz likened Beckham to Victor Cruz. That seems to be a decent comparison from my perspective.

According to Rotoworld, Beckham dropped 6.45 percent of the catchable balls thrown his way. That was just about average. What I noticed is he had excellent hands when coming back to the football. Some of the drops came when he was trying to track the ball downfield.

Here's an example of the first part:

Beckham ran a lot of curls and comebacks. Here, he creates separation, comes back to the football and snatches the pass out, which is a little off-target.

And here's one of the downfield throws that he failed to haul in:

I'm not labeling this a huge problem, but certainly something he can work on at the next level.

I had a tough time coming to a conclusion on Beckham's ability to out-muscle defenders and come down with 50/50 balls. My first impressions were that he is not great in that aspect. The example below is a tough play.

Beckham adjusts his body, but can’t out-muscle the DB to come down with the catch. Nice effort, and the defender made a nice play, but it seemed like Beckham had several opportunities on similar plays like this and didn't finish consistently.

Then again, there were examples where he did use his leaping ability to make plays.

Here is Beckham against highly-rated TCU CB Jason Verrett near the sideline. You can see there is a physicality to Beckham's game.

Here he goes up and gets the ball on a fade for a touchdown against Mississippi State.

And Beckham made some really nice plays on back-shoulder throws.

In terms of yards after the catch, Beckham averaged 5.60 per reception (per Rotoworld), which is not a particularly high number. Part of the reason is he made a lot of catches downfield. I know others disagree, but I didn't see Beckham break a lot of tackles or run away from defenders when he got the ball in space.

There were exceptions, however, like this comeback route against Mississippi State where he made a couple defenders miss and took off for the end zone.

And as we mentioned at the top, he was really good as a kickoff returner.

Overall, there's plenty to like about Beckham. He's not the biggest guy, but he plays physical. Beckham has excellent straight-line speed, short-area quickness and leaping ability. All the tools are there to be a really good receiver in the NFL. Beckham showed plenty of flashes of those tools translating to the field last season, although consistency was somewhat of an issue.

For the Eagles, he would come in and play right away. Beckham would see a lot of snaps in the slot, but could line up on the outside too (especially if Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper were to get injured). He would also instantly become the favorite to return kicks.

If the pre-draft buzz is any indication, Beckham is likely to be gone by the time the Eagles are on the clock. But if for some reason he drops, he'd certainly be an option at No. 22.

Sidenote: I know some of you have asked for how one player compares to another. Once I get through all of the WRs, I will provide a ranking of how I think they fit for the Eagles.

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  • ceedubya9

    Would definitely play a lot of snaps in the slot, and hopefully be dynamic in the return game. Wouldn’t be upset with the pick at all.

  • Joe Thomas

    Wish they didnt move the draft to May

    • PaoliBulldog

      But this way we get to read at least a thousand more mock drafts.

  • cliff henny

    seems like a bit of negative slant by Sheil…and saw this on twitter..

    Sheil Kapadia ‏@SheilKapadia 3m

    @si_dougfarrar Thanks. He(ODB) can certainly do a lot of different things. But overall, I think I like Marqise Lee more. You?

    • anon

      wouldn’t be a blg if he didnt have an opinion

      • cliff henny

        think Sheil stays neutral generally.

  • Explorer51

    One of my favorite parts of this article is that it’s about a WR and there’s no mention of any recent cuts.

    • Richard Colton

      If they go WR in round one I’m muting the TV for the next five minutes. Just don’t want to hear the lazy analysis – “looks like the Eagles are trying to replace…”

      • JosephR2225

        If they don’t go WR you should mute it anyway, so you don’t have to hear the lazy analysis – “I think the Eagles should have gone WR to replace…”

        • Richard Colton

          that’s true. the other thing I hate about the draft on ESPN is when they get the pick 30 seconds before we hear it, then completely change their analysis.

          “I’m thinking the Eagles could go Guard here Boomer…and with the 22nd pick, Eagles select Xavier Su’a Filo…”

          • Adam G

            NFL network is so much better than ESPN for draft coverage. Why does Chris Berman think people want to hear him “guess” what the team will pick when he knows for certain? He is the worst.

          • cliff henny

            talk about a guy who’s act has worn thin. 8th stage of Dante’s hell is 20 inning 0-0 baseball game between 2 garbage who cares teams

          • Explorer51

            With your eyes pinned open like Alex in Clockwork Orange….

          • cliff henny

            great movie.

          • Richard Colton

            always made me uncomfortable

      • Eagles1018

        I agree with that idea. My captain obvious choices for that 1st rd pick remain:

        Barr
        Pryor
        Cooks
        ODB
        Lee
        Trade down

        In that order. So likely we get one of these guys. And honestly if any of these guys (except Barr) is still on the board and we trade down, I have the faith that it’s for a good reason.

  • Token

    if I had to chose between the two, id take Lee. Just dont see it with Beckham. I feel like hes at his ceiling. I see him as a nice complimentary WR at this level.

    I dont see the separation consistently at the college level. I dont see the 40 speed transferring to the field. I dont see elite speed. Overall I dont think hes great after the catch. I just dont view him as particularly dangerous. Just as a nice, #2 or #3 guy maybe. Not somebody im interested in spending the #22 pick on.

    I think Lee is a better route runner. A much better blocker. Better after the catch. Plays with some fire. Not as good of hands. I like that hes had a bunch of workhorse games. Not that Lee makes me jump out of my chair either. But I view him as the better pro prospect. More of a chance to become a high level NFL WR.

  • the r

    He is nice but COOKs is better by far. Beckham speed is very questional

    • what the what

      whats questionable about 4.43 40? do explain

    • DEBO 215

      Yeah not a huge fan of Beckham. I think Marquise Lee or Cooks would be the better pick there.

  • DoctorRick

    Speaking of receivers, there was a nice piece in SmartFootball a couple of weeks ago on packaged plays and defending them. With the defenses playing more man coverage, it brings out the big people-little people elements. I would rather have Evans than ODB for this reason.

    http://smartfootball.com/grab-bag/smart-links-defending-packaged-plays-and-trips-auburn-tempo-noel-mazzone-clinic-notes-3312014#more-4591

    The secon link is a link from within the first article, me likey.

    http://coachjbird.blogspot.com/2014/03/packaged-play-encyclopedia.html?m=1

    • NickS1

      If only both were on the board when we select at #22…

  • jabostick

    My super limited knowledge of NCAA aside, if we go WR in Round 1 (staying where we are), I’m hoping it is Cooks.

    • DEBO 215

      I wouldn’t mind that but I honestly think this class is deep enough that you can look at a guy like Archer or Thomas in the middle rounds for that speed threat. It really depends who is there at 22.

  • GEAGLE

    Malcolm Jenkins wants us to go with the OL Dirty beckham….anyone know if any of our media posted the transcripts from Jenkins this week on NFL network, or are they still busy with Desean fables?

    • Malcom Jenkins

      Quit stalking me, bro!

      • GEAGLE

        Quit watching NFL network? Y? Quit being a flea bro.?i have enough groupies..if you want to join the fan club, take the time to create a screen name

  • travis papa

    I wasn’t so sure about ODB but now I feel more comfortable with him at 22 if we take a smaller wr. He had solid production and really good metrics. Cooks lee and ODB have enough pedigree to be worth the 22nd pick if we go with an average sized wr.

  • DEBO 215

    Beckham is ok but I’d much rather take Cooks, Lee or even Benjamin if they decide to use 22 on a WR.
    I watched some Dri Archer and De’Anthony Thomas highlights this morning as well and I wouldn’t mind either of those guys in the middle rounds. Very diverse players. Archer is insane fast.

    I’m hoping this is all moot and Pryor is there at 22. That makes the decision extremely easy to make.

  • NickS1

    Anyone else think he’d look a little better if he had a good QB? I certainly don’t think Mettenberger helped him too much.

    • DEBO 215

      Ron Jaworski disagrees.

      • NickS1

        Good, means I’m on to something.

      • GEAGLE

        Ron loves ODB ..apparently he likes it Raw

        • DEBO 215

          Ron loves Mettenberger too. He ranked him #2 on his board over Bridgewater, Manziel, etc…

  • GEAGLE

    Didn’t realize our defense ranked 10th in rushing last year…figured the numbers early in the year would hurt our average…finishing the year ranked 10th with a rookie NT who needs to add weight and little to no sefety support is impressive.

    • Adam G

      15th in weighted Defensive DVOA. Would seem to be a good sign for the coming year.

      • GEAGLE

        Being so young has it’s disadvantages, but if it’s the right player and the right coaches, being young is awesome because you can expect him to show up a better player the following year…no way we saw the best of Cox,Kendrick,Curry,Logan,Wolf yet…Nate should have his best year building off of last year and finally getting some schematic continuity….

        having a film rat QB like Malcolm, should help…while we can’t expect too many of those game breaking plays out of him, he is a quality addition, and his QB skills should really help cut down on breakdowns that lead to so many of those big plays that would end with our players pointing at each other…I’m sure his QB skills will even be sharper after having to practice against a Chip Kelly offense all summer
        ….
        having 3 veteran CBs and 3 safeties we are comfortable playing in a game, and Boykin…is an opportunity to really solidify this front 7, improve the pass rush and help out the back end…figure add two players in the first 4 rounds to the defense like KVN and Marcus smith…and one of the NTs in rounds 5-7 like Shemar or Deandre…we still have picks to get Chip his offensive toys…and we can use the 2015 draft getting younger in the secondary and OL

      • anon

        Hard to take anything from last year’s cookie cake schedule. Got trounced by 3 playoff teams in the beginning which you can write off. Did well against mediocre teams mid season, got trounced by nola who hadn’t won a game outside the dome in like 10 years.

        • Adam G

          DVOA takes that into account.

  • GEAGLE

    1900 rushing and 600 Recieving yards out of Bryce and shady? Geez…wtf happens now that we add Sproles to the mix?…3000 total yards out of the RB position?

    • cliff henny

      short answer…a lot of W’s

    • guest

      I’m guessing what happens will be less receiving yards for Bryce and Shady.

  • Tom W

    Really depends what Jets wanna do at 18 whether ODB gets to 22. For all
    the talk, ravens and steelers have at least three other major problems
    they need to address in the first round.

    1-Houston) Bortles 17 – Balt) Mosely
    2-ATL-Trade) Clowney 18 – Jets) Ebron
    3-Jax) Mack 19 – MIA) Z. Martin
    4-Clv) Watkins 20 – AZ) Dee Ford
    5-Oak) Manzel 21 -GB) Shazier
    6-StL- Trade) Robinson 22 JAX via Trade) D. Carr for 2d, 3d, & 5th
    7-TB) Evans 23 KC) M. Lee
    8- Minn) Teddy Bridge 24 Cin) Dennard
    9-Buff) Matthews 25 SD) K. Fuller
    10-Det) HaHa Dix 26 Clv) B. Roby
    11-Tenn) A. Barr 27 NO) K. Ealy
    12 – NYG) Matthews 28 CAR) ODB
    13 – StL) Pryor 29 NE) Sheed Hageman
    14 – Chi) Donald 30 SF) K. Benjamin
    15 -Pit) Gilbert 31 Den) Xavier S Filo
    16 – Dal) Jernigan 32 SEA) A. Robinson

    Eagles take:

    2) C. Latimer wr

    2) Marcus Smith olb

    3) Christian Jones ilb

    3) Martavius Bryant wr

    4) Dontae Johnson s/cb

    5) Antone Exum cb/s

    5) Brett Urban de

    7) Wesley Johnson ot/g/c

    udfa – Robert Thomas DT – ARK

    UDFA – Walt Aikens Corner – LIberty

    • Richard Colton

      It’s fair. Think maybe with all their holes and considering how deep this draft is, Jax may want to keep those picks and see if they can snag Carr, Garrapolo, or Savage in later rounds. The sneaky thing you did there was have Cleveland ignore QB with both their 1st round picks – that holds Jax’s feet to the fire a bit.

      All in all, I don’t love your first pick. But your 3rd and 5th rounders more than make up for it.

      • Tom W

        CLV has a very early second to get a qb. teams will all know they need to move in front of cleveland to get carr or teddy if arizona doesn’t take them.

        Actually worried fat andy offers up his pick over ours for trade cause they have no second.

        Watched 6 Latimer games this past weekend. Kid gives me everything I was hoping to see from Allen Robinson and alot more than Moncrief. Deep speed, fights for balls, good hands, uses his size well, breaks tackles, instinctive, blocks well, nice routes. Beats up on Roby and Dennard

    • cliff henny

      like it, not huge on Bryant, but if Kelly takes him with other 6’3-200+ guys, good enough for me. my only request would be do they need both Exum and the new DJ, cant we toss in TE like Freidorwitz or Georgia or Colorado St kids?

      • Tom W

        Bryant is growing on me. his upside is undeniable. just needs to be coached up. not alot of 6 4 guys running around w 4 4 speed.

        Was thinking we can keep exum at corner and dontae at safety but sure I’m fine w CJF in 4th. still holding out hope we sign Colt Lyeria after the draft.

        • cliff henny

          be nice to get Colt as UDFA, like freebee pick. seeing A Smith little sideshow, might scare a team or 2 off.

          • Tom W

            Wondering if chip gives him a second chance. Sounds like he showed up late when he first came to Oregon for some unknown reason speculated as rehab. Had a real tough upbringing. left Oregon voluntarily. coke bust. etc.
            He is talent is first two rounds. Could talk me into using our fifth on him.

  • Andy124

    Boooo. Too short.

  • Tom W

    Don’t think the eagles even think about drafting a midget wr in the first round. be silly too w studs like robert herron, landry, gallon from michigan who I absolutely love, and bruce ellington available 3-5th rounds.

  • GEAGLE

    Interesting that Jenkins says it came down between the Eagles and Skins for Sproles, so the eagles told Jenkins to call him, and he said he gladly made the call not wanting to play against Sproles twice a year…take that Washington!

    • Adam G

      Where did you hear this? Doesn’t quite make sense considering Sproles was traded and didn’t have a say.

      • GEAGLE

        Malcolm jenkins has been on NFL network all week…

        • Adam G

          Good story, but it really didn’t matter. If skins offered more I’m sure he would be in Wash now.

          • GEAGLE

            Not neccessarily…suggest checking Jenkins out…he was about as candid and forthcoming as you will ever hear from an athlete…no politically correct answers about our opponents,,..was hoping I could get the transcript of his past 4 days instead of 4 month old quotes from Howie already used in 37 articles, or Desen owing his cleaning lady money stories…providd some quality nuggets about our defensive schemes, spoke highly of FOles…

          • Adam G

            I’m struggling to think of a scenario where they would take less from the Eagles. Looking at Sproles’ wife’s post certainly seems like they weren’t in contact at all. Most likely scenario is the Eagles offered the most in a trade and had little to do with Jenkins reaching out to Sproles.

          • GEAGLE

            When you see a team trade for a player and immediately announce an extension, typically that extension had to be agreed upon before the eagles signed off on the trade,,,if teams like Eagles and Skins needed to agree to an extension before completing the trade than Sproles wasn’t as helpless as you suggest

  • peteike

    Still like ARob of all the highlights I watch, then again Im not in depth on all that. I think ARob goes way earlier than projections. Id prefer Lee also over ODB.

  • GEAGLE

    Don’t believe we are keeping the 22nd pick so…whatever…unless someone who has no business falling to 22 is available like Barr,Ebron,Evans,Gilbert, Aaron Donald…

  • GEAGLE

    Cushing blew his knee out a few games Into the season and is proclaiming to be 100% healthy???hopefully Maclin who has been rehabbing longer, is just as healthy..I actually trust Maclin confidence in his knee….it’s Benns knees that worry me..what a boost having him healthy for a year would be…probably a pipe dream at this point

    • peteike

      ya right, lets hope some Buckhalter juju rubs off on Benn

      • peteike

        ok that didnt read too good haha

  • GEAGLE

    Huh? I’m not even suggesting we draft him but kid is top 5 in terms of hands in this draft

    • Corey Dawson

      I don’t see that from his drops. A lot of them should have been caught if he has top 5 hands.

      • Birds4Life

        Can’t make catches like these if you don’t have good hands!

        • GEAGLE

          Evans and ODB, best hands in the draft..

          • Birds4Life

            Can’t argue with that. Or I could, but I would be wrong.

          • GEAGLE

            ATleast that’s the consensus

  • GEAGLE

    To the idiots who talked ish, check out Ross tuckers recent podcast and he talks about the role agents have in deciding where a player signs..Joel segal wanting C2J in NY with his other client Vick…

  • cliff henny

    to switch to NBA, Jabari Parker is going Pro

    • GEAGLE

      Too flaky, worry about his personality in our crazy media market…he is just a different type of Kat, hope he goes to a small market like the Bucks…I wouldn’t draft him if I’m hinkie

      • peteike

        ya I liked him a lot til I heard all that recent quirky stuff about him. Def different cat

      • cliff henny

        I don’t want him either, but pushes 1 guy closer to 10th, and another option inside top5 if cant get wigs or Enbiid

        • GEAGLE

          Yup yup…but I’m drafting Exum 3rd, Randle 4th

        • peteike

          Embiids back issues scare me too much, no thanks

          • GEAGLE

            What back issues?,spazzism that sidelined him for two weeks?

          • peteike

            http://regressing.deadspin.com/just-how-serious-is-joel-embiids-injury-1542399946

            a silver lining is “Pistons center Andre Drummond suffered the same spinal injury last year and has shown no ill effects this season.”

          • GEAGLE

            Kid missed like two weeks due to injury, not someone I would take off my board

          • korman

            Then its a matter of fit. If the Sixers end up with #1 or #2, I don’t see much of a way around picking Wiggins/Parker there – even if Embiid’s injury isn’t serious (note: I think a healthy Embiid might be the best player this year).

            If the team ends up between 3-5, then Embiid comes in play.

          • cliff henny

            have to find out what caused issue. my guess is kid never played that much ball before and got worn down. so young and still growing, could just be case of too much workload. I want Wiggins, if end up with 3rd, might be able to get him still since Parker declared.

          • peteike

            ya true and trust me I was all about him til I read that article and talked to my KU buddy. Guess theyd known about it for a while. Just with big men like that its a potential big red flag. Hope not for his sake.

          • peteike

            Gordon with that 2nd pick?

          • cliff henny

            NO’s @ 10th, doubt Aaron will be there. using early 2nd, thad and cap space (or some combo), 3-way trade up 3 or4 spots, hell yeah. like VOnleh too. need Wiggins though, that 2nd jump is insane

          • peteike

            ya true, all those top 8 to 10 will go in some combo. Not sure they can move up into those spots, they will be coveted. God I hope we get 1, something has to go right for this city

          • cliff henny

            just not the 2nd pick…we never have any luck with that pick

  • GEAGLE

    Anyone remember if we did pre draft interviews with Ertz last year?

  • korman

    Another thing to like about Beckham – Big Hands, Long Arms. Personally have him as my 3rd WR this year (as I’m sure plenty of others do).

  • JofreyRice

    Interesting take, Sheil. I think I like ODB a little more than you do. I think the shiftiness and speed is there, and I think you’re getting a guy like Golden Tate–as a floor–and someone that could end up being a Steve Smith type as he develops. I’d be OK with either Lee or ODB at #22, if that’s the route they go, but I’d prefer ODB.

  • DoctorRick

    Do you feel moderated?
    8^)

  • daggolden

    Why are we drafting a WR in the 1st round? We had a pro bowl WR. Barney Rubble has told us its the system so why doesn’t he take one of the 20 WRs on the roster and make them a star. Doesn’t Barney Rubble know his pass defense was 32nd in the NFL last year? Oh yeah we signed Jenkins we are good now. SMH #Eaglesaresmarterthan everoneelse