There are a lot of challenges that young players face as rookies. For one, they have to make to final roster, first of all. That isn't a given, unless you're a high draft pick. Secondly, the players will be behind the eight ball when it comes to learning the playbook. If that wasn't enough, in most cases, the rookie will be behind an established veteran on the depth chart.
Now with Odell Beckham, unless he does something despicable, won't get cut. He gets the advantage of learning the playbook the same time as everybody else due to the arrival of Ben McAdoo this year. He most certainly will be AT LEAST 3rd on the depth chart, however, behind established vets Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. He'll most likely be fighting for that 3rd spot with Mario Manningham and Jerrel Jernigan.
Pro Football Focus recently has come up with a great series that examines rookie impacts at different positions. They have one written about wide receivers. You can find the article in it's entirety here:
When looking at every receiver drafted since 2007, the average grade for their rookie year comes in at -1.4. That’s not terrible, but obviously that average includes a lot of receivers with marginal grades due to not seeing much of the field at all. When we look at the players who saw at least 700 snaps that average drops a little further to -3.8.
That's not very good, but it's to be expected. Wide receivers are the poster child for the theory that a player cannot be judged until their third year. That's because it's one of the hardest positions to learn, especially because most college teams do not run a pro style offense.
There's always exceptions. Keenan Allen was tremendous last year, but that certainly isn't the norm. Hell, Calvin Johnson in his first year only had 750 yards receiving and 4 TDs. Hakeem Nicks had 790 and 6 TDs. It takes time.
We've already heard that Beckham is not in Tom Coughlin's good graces already. That doesn't sound great for his chances, though I admit, it's still quite early. It's good that Beckham is a supremely talented route runner, that might get him back on track. So let's go through this little exercise:
Let's assume Beckham is the third wide receiver in this offense. Since this is completely new, we don't have any idea of how much the 3rd wideout will play. The best we can do is look at 2013's Green Bay Packers offense and take a look. Here are the snap counts:
Jordy Nelson: 1102 snaps
James Jones: 863 snaps
Jarrett Boykin: 673 snaps
Randall Cobb: 340 snaps
Now, Cobb was hurt for a large part of the season, playing in only 6 games. I'd assume then, that the third wide receiver in a McAdoo offense would likely play somewhere in the range of 700-850 snaps. Fair enough. Rookies who play that many snaps usually are in the Calvin Johnson/Hakeem Nicks range.
If we assume that Beckham doesn't land in the Coughlin dog house and gets his snaps as a third WR, in what will likely be a base 11 personnel offense, we could see some decent production. At his ceiling, 750 yards and 5 TDs is not unreasonable.
More likely, however, Beckham's impact as a deep threat with gamebreaking ability will shown in the sharp rise in performance from Rueben Randle and/or Victor Cruz.. A realistic expectation for our 12th overall pick then, could honestly be around 600 yards and 3-4 TDs.
That may anger some (or many) of you, but we have to remember: the draft isn't for today, it's for next year. I can definitely see both Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz breaking 1,000 yards, and part of that will be because of Odell Beckham.
What do you guys think?