Les Miles was quoted as saying ODB "never missed a practice. That's rare." He's a tremendous worker and team captain (the theme of the draft). He's got the bloodlines. More than that, however, he's got the skill set.
A "West Coast Offense" relies on throws from the quarterback going to specific set points on the field. These points are the end of mostly short horizontal and comeback routes. The point? To continue moving the chains in a methodical fashion and to open up the running game and deep pass.
Odell Beckham Jr. can do all of that and more. Let's watch him torch Mississippi State and break it down.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs Mississippi State 2013 (via JPDraftJedi)
0:00 - 0:24 - Right off the bat, you see Beckham Jr making an impact. Zach Mettenberger starts with a play-action, and a five-step drop and heaves it about 30 yards downfield. Beckham Jr. shows off the one trait that Eli Manning will absolutely love: high-pointing the ball. He out leaps the defender and makes a terrific hands catch at it's highest point. It's part of the total package we call catch radius, and his is elite.
0:25 - 0:37 - Damn. This may at first look like Beckham Jr., didn't get much separation, but the truth is he had to slow down for the ball because Mettenberger had to fit it in between the corner and the safety much like Manning did to Mario Manningham in the Super Bowl. Beckham Jr. caught it anyway. Two things stood out for me here. One is the body control, where he adjusted to a poor "back shoulder" throw while contorting his body and the other is his fearlessness. He knew he was getting hit, but he shook off a big one to his back and showed some fight. I love it.
0:38 - 0:47 - Oh yeah, he does kickoffs, too. Shows good explosion on this run, gets to his second gear quickly. Unfortunately started too close to the sideline and so, was tackled just past the 20.
0:48 - 0:57 - Blink and you might miss this one, but again, some things stood out that makes Beckham Jr. a complete wide receiver. Look at the separation he got when he caught the ball on a comeback route. Corner wasn't close to him. Then look at the adjustment he makes on the ball. That's body control and catch radius, folks. We know Eli isn't the most accurate passer in the world, so it's important.
0:58 - 1:20 - Simple play by Beckham here, but he uses his nice acceleration and stop-start ability to find the soft spot in the zone and just sit in it for an easy completion. Showed some wiggle in getting YAC as well.
1:21 - 1:44 - Two kickoff returns in a row. I'm finding that I'm not a huge fan of ODB on kickoffs. I'd rather try him on punts. He gets up to speed very quickly, but he doesn't have the same vision as someone like David Wilson in order to set up those lanes. He runs into traffic both times. Something to work on.
1:45 - 2:05 - Again, you see Beckham catching a ball in traffic. But wait, you say, isn't that bad? Doesn't that mean that he isn't getting separation? Watch the actual play and when Mettenberger throws it. Beckham Jr is already past the 5-yard line and double teamed when the ball is thrown, so he has to slow down to catch it because the ball was shallow. This wasn't a fade, it was a stop route. He stopped and elevated and again, CATCH RADIUS AND BODY CONTROL. This is why I'm comparing him to Hakeem Nicks. It's a beautiful thing. Touchdown.
2:06 - 2:17 - Similar situation to the kickoffs before. He's fast, but he runs into traffic. That needs to get fixed. There's potential there to be a lethal return guy in kickoffs, but he's just not there yet.
2:18 - 2:48 - This catch shows everything. A beautiful corner route by Beckham Jr. Gets down field and once he gets through his stem and into his break, you'll see that instant separation due to the acceleration. Then, the ball is in the air, he turns around and makes a hand catch after a superb adjustment. That's a pro catch right there. I'm giddy.
2:49 - 3:16 - The last play was another brilliant one. Again, he runs a perfect comeback route and look at the separation he gets. Then he turns inside and on come the jets. He runs away from everybody for his second touchdown of the day.
There are two things that wide receivers are scouted on. These are the two most important factors in how successful a player is. What are they?
Separation and catching ability.
Can get separation from any part of the route. Some, like Sammy Watkins, win right at the LOS with a tremendous burst and first step at the line. Some win at the break in the middle of their routes, like Jared Abbrederis. Finally, some win at the actual catch point by just over powering the opposing defender like Mike Evans.
In this video, we saw ODB get separation all three ways. Now, his explosion off the line was inconsistent, but with this video and in others, his route running and his body control consistently created separation for him.
Those that see him catching balls in traffic will automatically point out that he didn't separate but don't consider the actual situation and ball placement. There were several instances in this video where he made contested catches because he had to slow down and stop for the ball.
As far as catching ability goes, he didn't drop a single ball. Thanks to Greg Peshek of Rotoworld.com, I can tell you he had a drop rate of 6.45 percent, which is better than league average. Every single catch in this video (and in most of the other 6 I've seen on him), has been a hands catch, not letting the ball into his body.
Needless to say, with the route running, the wiggle, and the body control/catch radius, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo must be thrilled to have such a weapon. I know I am.