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As we begin the countdown to the NFL Draft starting on April 30,
I will spend anywhere from 4-8 hours to break down the strengths
and weaknesses of at least the top 15 offensive skill-position prospects
available in this draft.
Dorial Green-Beckham has the talent to
be a star but must improving his route-running ability.
For a detailed account as to why Green-Beckham is lucky to even
be alive, read this
story. Under the guidance of his adopted father and high-school
coach (John Beckham), it didn’t take long for the former basketball
prodigy to become the most sought-after high-school football recruit
in the nation in 2012 following a career in which he amassed 6,353
receiving yards and 75 touchdowns. After deciding to remain close
to home for college, Green-Beckham posted a 28-395-5 line as a freshman
in his first season with the Tigers. It was during that first year
that his off-field problems began as he was arrested along with
two teammates after they were allegedly caught smoking marijuana
in a campus parking lot, resulting in a one-game suspension.
As a sophomore in 2013, Green-Beckham led Missouri in receptions
(59) and touchdowns (12) while finishing second in receiving yards
(883) and, most importantly, stayed out of trouble to earn second-team
All-SEC honors. A week after that season ended, however, he was
back in the news when he was arrested for possession of a controlled
substance (marijuana) with intent to distribute, although he was
later released without charges. Three months later, Green-Beckham
was dismissed from the Missouri football team following an incident
in which he allegedly forced open an apartment door and pushed
an 18-year-old woman down several stairs. He was not charged in
the incident, but Tigers HC Gary Pinkel believed a fresh start
was best for all parties involved. Pinkel vouched for his troubled
wideout to coaching buddy Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, but it proved
to be for naught as the transfer waiver the Sooners hoped would
allow Green-Beckham to play immediately was denied by the NCAA.
To his credit, Green-Beckham stayed out of trouble in Norman and
became a model scout-team player, putting in all the early-morning
conditioning and weightlifting sessions that he would have been
asked to participate in had he been eligible.
Best Scheme Fit: His best initial
fit will likely be in a role and/or scheme in which he can be
the next Martavis Bryant. His size, speed and ball skills should
play well in deep-ball and red-zone situations just as they did
in college and the limited snaps would protect him somewhat from
getting exposed as a one- or two-trick pony while he develops
his route-running skills.
Rare athleticism and body control for such a huge-framed
wideout; more fluid than most receivers with similar height/weight.
Does a fine job of using his wingspan and frame to shield
off defenders on downfield throws, especially in high-point
situations in the red zone.
Long-strider with enough wiggle to make defenders miss
in the open field and a very powerful runner after the catch.
Lack of route-running chops creates a lot of contested-ball
situations, but he wins the majority of them anyway.
Usually an effective and willing blocker that uses huge
frame to his advantage; walls off defender some of the time
and will occasionally put the defender on skates or deliver
a crushing backside block.
Multiple major off-field concerns.
Doesn’t play nearly as physical as his size suggests
he should and often struggled with press coverage; disappointed
with 13 reps of 225 lbs. at the combine.
Has much work to do before he is considered an average
route-runner (ran mostly tunnel screens, 9-routes and fades
in college); creates most of his separation due to superior
Did not show much of a feel for reading defenses and
is unpredictable in terms of when he makes his breaks; doesn’t
always appear to be on the same page as his quarterback.
Will allow the ball to get into his body too often,
especially on non-red zone routes.
Green-Beckham – even more than Jameis Winston – should
serve as a pretty good litmus test as to how much (more?) stock
NFL teams want to put into character going forward. Will he enter
the league with one strike against him when it comes to domestic
violence, substance abuse or both? The reason DGB is a better
test case than Winston is because this draft features two first-round
quarterback prospects and a host of players that talent evaluators
will be nothing more than long-term backups while the receiver
position is likely loaded with future starters. From a pure talent
perspective, Green-Beckham is as good as this draft has to offer.
AFC college scout even went so far as to say, “If not
for all that (off-field) stuff, he'd be the best receiver to come
out since Calvin Johnson." Another scout (assigned to cover
Oklahoma) told Bleacher
Report, “He's completely turned his life around. Big
brother moved in, whipped his (butt) and took control. He's on
the straight-and-narrow since leaving Mizzou." While Johnson
has more talent and was clean as a whistle off the field coming
out of Georgia Tech, the comparison to DGB is appropriate in that
both players are both huge-framed and freakishly-talented receivers
that entered (or will enter) the league as raw route-runners.
Green-Beckham is a huge piece of football clay that could easily
be molded into a masterpiece in the right situation or be out
of the league in three years if he thrown into the wrong situation.
As a result, he has more space between his pro ceiling and floor
than any other prospect in this draft. Much as is the case with
many impressionable young men coming into the league with checkered
pasts, so much of whether or not DGB succeeds or fails will depend
on the support system that his next team offers, making it important
that his next team insist on a zero-tolerance policy AND the Green-Beckham
brothers are a package deal at the very least.
Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and appeared in
USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine in 2010 and
2011. He is also the host of USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff
fantasy football internet chat every Sunday. Doug regularly appears
as a fantasy football analyst on Sirius XM’s “Fantasy
Drive” and for 106.7 The Fan (WJFK – Washington, D.C).
He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
E-mail Doug or follow
him on Twitter.