2014 NFL Draft: 'Dark horse' candidate for Giants at 12 ... Odell Beckham Jr.

Stacy Revere

Mike Evans has been the focus among those who want the Giants to take a wide receiver with the 12th pick of the NFL Draft. Could they tab LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. if Evans is off the board?

Based on the way you read about the NFL Draft from fans each team has three or four options of players they can choose form to fit both value and need and that is the focus for fans the entire draft season. This of course is foolish! That's why the best guys in the business of draft analysis hope to get seven or eight picks right in the entire first round (and most don't). A lot of unexpected things happen in the draft, and with that in mind I decided to take a look at possible options for the New York Giants that I haven't seen discussed anywhere on the web. I recently detailed why I think Ra'shede Hageman is a player that is a serious dark-horse candidate for the New York Giants in the first round (even in favor of the much more publicized Aaron Donald).

In the introduction I didn't mean to disparage Giants' fans, I don't blame them for falling into the trap (I myself did it last year when I convinced myself the Giants couldn't possibly draft Justin Pugh in the first round), I think it's the fault of media analysts and a severe misunderstanding of best player available. We here at Big Blue View made a big board where we put players in an order of 1-100 and player 11 > player 15, but that's not how it works in reality. The way it works in the NFL is a number of those 100 players won't even be on the board (there might only be 40) and they are likely to be separated into rows (or some similar system) -- like top 8 players in Row A, Other first-round caliber players in Row B, second-round players in Row C and so forth. This is also why when Jerry Reese says we drafted the "best player available" he's not lying. They drafted a player they liked from the group of players they felt were the best players.

All that is to say that if the GIants draft a guy like LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. , at 12 don't consider this pick a reach in the minds of the Giants' brass. Beckham Jr, has been mocked consistently in the top 20 picks, which means that he's not one of the small handful of blue chip prospects, but he is considered just as good as the group of players that would generally be drafted between 10 and 30.

Odell Beckham Jr, has had perhaps the best off-season of any player not named Tom Savage. NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently cited Beckham Jr. as a player who could shoot up into the top 10.

"Every now and then you have a player go in the top 10 (and) nobody saw it coming. How about WR Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU," Jeremiah said. "This is a player a lot of people are excited about. And if we see a guy like Sammy Watkins potentially go with that No. 2 overall pick, and then you see Mike Evans go early on, I think Odell Beckham Jr. is next in line. What he can do in the passing game -- go up and get the football, run after the catch, can stretch the field vertically, and then the added bonus (is) he's an outstanding returner. So to me, he's a wild-card player. I think people might be shocked on the outside, but a lot of love for him inside the league."

This is not the only buzz Beckham Jr. has received lately. In the Newark Star Ledger's draft preview a personnel man had this to say about Beckham Jr.:

"I really like this guy," the personnel man said. "He’s not Watkins, but he’s right there. He can run, and he runs great routes. And he has the same return ability, if you need that." A scouting director from an NFC team added: "He’s real good after the catch. He’s a big-play guy. No, he’s not Sammy, but he’s darn good." Beckham (5-foot-11 1/4 and 198 pounds) was a star of the combine, posting an unofficial forty time of 4.31 and a 10-yard split of 1.50 seconds

Beckham Jr. currently ranks 16th on National Football Post's big board (but much lower on ours -- 47th), and has moved up a lot in other big boards (17 on Mel Kiper's board, 19th on Daniel Jeremiah's, 19th on Rotoworld's) and there is a lot to like about Beckham Jr. He has good speed (he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash) and big (10-inch) hands as well as long arms (32.75 inches). He also has dynamic run after the catch ability and should be a quality return man in the NFL. Beckham Jr. has solid production (59 receptions, 1152 yards, and eight touchdowns). Now to me, I don't think he projects as a No. 1 wide receiver, but as more of a quality No. 2 guy. I would prefer him in the second round, but I don't have a general manager job and I won't be making the decisions on draft day and it seems, despite my objections, that he's a player who is going to go very high in the NFL Draft and a player who even as an outside shot at being selected 12th overall by the New York Giants.

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