I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Missouri/Oklahoma - 6'5, 237 - Senior - 4.49 40
Nearly every single draft, we find arguments and case studies to occupy our time and fashion our ideals and opinions. The problem, of course, is that when we take these positions, there are really no permanent ramifications to the positions we take other than someone googling that down the road and having a laugh about an opinion that proved to be absolutely, positively ridiculous.
NFL teams, however, have much more at stake. If they are going to invest in a player who has warning flags all over the yard, they will feel the full penalties of getting it wrong which include the most important debit - losing a major premium chip to improve their team. Lost money and public humiliation also are there, but the big part is that they had a top pick and then they blew it by investing improperly. So, when preparing for the draft, I can watch all the games I want, but there are players where your personal interaction with them as well as a thorough investigation into what type of human you are dealing with would be mandatory when you evaluate whether you take this player high, low, or not at all. There are many teams that will not even have a player like Dorial Green-Beckham on their board at any price.
That said, there are others who will see this as a real opportunity. Green-Beckham was the #1 recruit in the nation in 2012 when he selected Missouri. He is a giant man who has both absurd size and speed at the wide receiver position. He also has no fewer than 3 scrapes with the law since arriving at college, including drugs and a domestic violence situation that resulted in Missouri dismissing the player who then transferred to Oklahoma and would never actually play a down for the Sooners before declaring for the draft. So, oddly, we only have 2013 footage to use back at Missouri and their games against Auburn, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
Green-Beckham wears #15 for The Tigers:
What I liked: If you want to roll precisely on the positive, just have a look at some of these videos. He is too big and too fast to cover with one guy. It cannot be done. So, Missouri would routinely tease the safety away and then just throw it up and allow him to go get it - which he would regularly do even as a true freshman and sophomore. He is so big that he is one of those players that is like 7-11 (always open). He is impressive in the open field with the short flare-out passes which demonstrates his strides that make up huge amounts of real-estate in a short amount of time. If you squint, you can see Terrell Owens or perhaps even the other types of huge and fast draftees over the year like Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss. The fact is, you can't teach 6'5. 240, with 4.4 speed who can take the top off any coverage.
What I did not like: Aside from the off the field red flags - which are substantial - he requires an awful lot of polish in his game. He runs very few routes and doesn't play with the power you would like to see for a man in a tight-ends body. There is no point in having great strength if you cannot translate it to functional football strength and a man his size should never get beat on a slant or appear to bail out from contact. He also does not display consistent catch technique and has some lapses that leads to some frustrating drops. The upside is very, very high. However, it would be foolish to suggest there is no downside for potentially unrealized talent. He also did not test overly well in many of the combine tests besides the 40 yard dash.
Summary: Seldom does someone come along that could be the best receiver of a class on one hand, yet perhaps available on Day 2 of the draft on the other hand. If you are willing to take a chance on a player like this, it could represent value of the highest order. However, there are plenty that would not place him on their board at any level. But, again, at some time you have to look carefully at the highlights and see his unlimited potential and ponder what could happen if Green-Beckham gets his act together and the proper coaching and fire in his belly. Without knowing what the interview process and investigation turns up, it is impossible to know where he ranks in the NFL war-rooms, but when you talk about upside and amazing potential, Green-Beckham is quite an interesting study. In 5 years, he is possibly the type of guy to make teams wonder why they passed on him so many times. But, that is the draft game at its best.
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