We’re now a full year out from the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. from East Rutherford, NJ. General Manager Dave Gettleman shipped Beckham off to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for safety Jabrill Peppers and Cleveland’s 2019 first-round pick (No. 17 overall) and a 2019 third-round pick (No. 95 overall). Which turned into defensive linemen Oshane Ximines and of course Dexter Lawrence. We’ll discuss the Peppers implications later but let’s take a look at Odell Beckham Jr.s’ career as a New York Giant in retrospect.
I had and still have an affinity for Beckham as a football player. It’s not unwarranted as he is bigger than just “The Catch”. Statistically, he didn’t have a season with under 90 receptions until 2017. The first three years of his career, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were special. He had 1, 305 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns his rookie season. What followed was a bump in production in 2015 with 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns. Finally, he capped off his peak run with 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns, a slight decline.
Odell Beckham Jr. displayed excellent use of his hands in his rookie season. He became most well known for his spectacular grabs. As his stint with Big Blue progressed he showed off incredible yards after catch (YAC) ability. Peaking in 2017, his relationship with Eli became primarily centered around Manning floating a high slant pass over the middle and Beckham elevating, grabbing, planting and turning up field with insane breakaway speed. He finished 3rd in the NFL in receiving yards that season with 1,367 receiving yards and 38% of those yards came after the catch.
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It got to the point that if the ball got in his hands a big play was imminent. Some may see it as one-dimensional. I see it as beautifully dynamic and there’s something to be said as to the impressiveness of collecting the ball, and with a fluid plant and turn of the hips, exploding off the turn.
The NFL and Giants fans who deter and neglect any OBJ support have a two-pronged argument. One, he was and is very immature, one of the elite level wide-out “diva” types. The second argument was, he didn’t show up in big moments.
To start, the medias depiction of Beckham’s misdoings in the Big Apple were overblown. The only time it tangibly cost the Giants anything was in 2015. When the Giants took on the Panthers with his spat against Josh Norman and kicking of the ball. Which lead to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Whilst it would be easier to act calm, cool and collected, it’s hard to ask a multi-millionaire celebrity in his early 20’s to control his ego.
It’s even harder to know what he’s like without actually knowing him, but that’s a whole different discussion. On the football side of things, the main stage brought up when discussing Beckham failure to be clutch is his disappearance against Green Bay in the 2016 Wild Card Round. He had just 4 receptions and 28 yards on 11 targets. It’s the only playoff game of his career but it’s still overblown by the media, or at least was, once again.
One that comes to mind is the game winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in week 6 of 2016 (here). Whilst on a smaller stage I think it helps debunk the “not showing up in big moments” theory. It should also be considered a wide-receiver is a complimentary piece in an offense. It’s very hard to carry one as a receiver, unless your Randy Moss.
Wrapping It Up
I look upon Odell’s time with the Giants fondly rather than bitterly. I appreciate his time here, his catch radius and explosive play-making, off the field and on the field considered in all. Plus, he brought back a good return last year as well as freed up cap space. We can discuss the trade and its implications in totality another time.
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