Saturday, April 05, 2014
Like anybody else who watched the NFL Combine, we came away impressed with two receivers who really stood out: Mike Evans and Odell Beckham, Jr.
The only knock against Beckham was that he looked smallish. Yeah, of course, Beckham (listed at 5'11", 198) looked smaller compared to Evans, who is 6'5", 231.
As a result, with so many outstanding and tantalizing big receivers in this draft (Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, etc.), nobody until this week had projected Beckham to go as high as Pick No. 15 in the draft, which is where the Steelers pick.
So, when Mel Kiper Jr. predicted the Steelers would select Beckham with their first-round choice, we thought we'd take a closer look.
YouTube highlight reels of college football players can be misleading. We realize that.
Great Hands; a Polished Receiver
In the video above, however, Beckham, playing against top-flight SEC competition, showed the polish and everything else you want in a big-play wide receiver, with stellar kick-return abilities thrown in for good measure. Great hands; explosiveness; breakaway speed; body control; fluidity; burst; separation; moves; yards after the catch; high-point leaping ability; shiftiness; sideline awareness; tenacity; the ability to catch contested balls; evasiveness; smooth, natural hands; and, it bears repeating, great hands.
Kiper's projection of Beckham to the Steelers at No. 15 was roundly lambasted in Steeler Nation -- check out the Reader Comments in this post at Behind the Steel Curtain and in this post at Steelers Depot -- but Joey Porter's Pit Bulls don't think Beckham would be a reach at No. 15. Not at all.
It seem like the Steelers favor the bigger but less refined and less sure-handed Kelvin Benjamin at this point, but to our amateur eyes, Odell Beckham looks like he has all the tools to succeed in the NFL. Beckham appears to be a play-maker and, frankly, he looks like he has more game, although Benjamin has "upside" and "potential."
If both top-rated corners (Gilbert and Dennard) are gone, and both top-rated receivers (Walker and Evans) are gone, Beckham could be a good choice at No. 15.
We're not saying he should be the choice; we just don't see what's not to like (aside from the bow tie).