Editor’s note: A few days before Odell Beckham made the greatest catch of the year, Around The NFL’s Chris Wesseling said he was perhaps this year’s top rookie wide receiver.
This year’s historically great rookie wide receiver class is so star-studded that debates have already erupted among football fans over which talented young playmaker has the most potential.
Kelvin Benjaminjumped out to an early lead before the Panthers’ offense went in the tank. Sammy Watkins was the “It” receiver after back-to-back 100-yard performances at midseason. Mike Evans has emerged as the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite with a three-game stretch of dominance unmatched by any rookie since Randy Moss in 1998.
As NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock points out, however, it’s Odell Beckham of the New York Giants who might just be the cream of the crop after averaging 119 yards on seven receptions since replacing Victor Cruz as the starter opposite Reuben Randle.
Breaking down Beckham’s 108-yard performance against Richard Sherman and Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary, Mayock said, via NFL NOW, that the No. 12 overall pick “did everything right that you’d want to see in a receiver.”
Mayock highlighted Beckham’s versatility to line up in the slot or outside despite missing the majority of August and September with a lingering hamstring injury.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman emphasized last offseason that Beckham was the only legitimate “run the entire route tree” wide receiver in the draft class.
Echoing that sentiment, Mayock noted Beckham’s separation and advanced route running.
“You can see the respect that Richard Sherman has for his speed,” Mayock glowed. “Tremendous job. What an outstanding future this young wide receiver has.”
In formal poll of six Around The NFL writers, four chose Beckham as the rookie with the brightest NFL future.
“I’ve never seen a player quite like him,” Gregg Rosenthal explained. “He just jumps off the screen. His hands, strength and ability to go deep. All the rookies are great and it’s splitting hairs, but he seems like the most versatile and could have the highest ceiling.”
Marc Sessler cited Beckham’s “fearlessness and strength” in the matchup with Sherman, the best the NFL has to offer at cornerback. “He seems to have caught up so quickly and is now just playing with real power,” Sessler added. “His speed took over versus Seattle.”
Bemoaning the fact that his Lions bypassed a unique talent, Kevin Patra noted that Beckham matches up better against any defense and adjusts to passes in every way.
Beckham has drawn interesting comparisons as a less physical early-career version of Steve Smith or a bigger, fasterAntonio Brown.
When I watch Beckham play, I can’t get the image of a 1980s era Michael Jordan out of my head. Let me be clear: I’m not saying Beckham shares the NBA legend’s size, hyper-competitive drive or penchant for willing his team to victory. But the vice-grip hands, easy leaping ability, graceful athleticism, mid-air dexterity and improvisational creativity are reminiscent — as you can see in the video above.
Watkins, Evans and Benjamin have already demonstrated No. 1 receiver talent, beating top-end NFL cornerbacks. When I watch Game Rewind, though, it’s Beckham’s world-class athleticism that jumps off the screen.
The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Chiefs-Raiders and reacts to the drama in D.C. as well as Adrian Peterson’s suspension. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.
Source: Read Full Article