Can Odell Beckham Jr. Improve After His Rookie Season?
by Michael Stewart | Featured Columnist
In his rookie season; which was only 12 games due to a nagging hamstring injury? Odell Beckham Jr. Still managed 91 receptions/1305 yards/12 TD’s, a trip to the Pro Bowl and winning the offensive rookie of the year honor. .Throw in a little contribution on special teams and running the ball (21 KR for 171 yards and 7 carries for 35 yards) and you having the making a future Hall of Famer. Not so fast!
Despite Beckham’s rookie success, one thing I’ve learned in covering the NFL and the Giants for the past 8 years is that there are no guarantees. Entering his second season in the NFL, Beckham has been hampered once again with a hamstring issue; which has limited his participation on the field.
Coach Tom Coughlin has stated that although the injury is not serious, the team is handling the injury with extreme caution. Although I believe Beckham is not a one year wonder, I do question if he is capable of improving on his rookie stats moving forward. Below are two main reasons why I believe Beckham might have a difficult time achieving these goals:
1. Injuries: For the second straight season, Beckham has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. Coach Coughlin can minimize this as much as he wants, but the fact that Beckham is having the same injury to arguably the most important body part (legs) for his success, should be a concern.
The hamstring when healthy is a vital element for a WR to achieve his highest performance. Constant damage to the hamstring could result in hamstring syndrome.
2. Opposing teams will now make Beckham their #1 priority: Without a doubt, Beckham has become the #1 target for opposing teams when planning to stop the New York Giants passing game. Beckham JR. should expect to see more double coverage’s and more CB playing tighter coverage at the line of scrimmage, knowing they have help behind them.
This will most likely benefit other Giant receivers such as Randle, Cruz (if healthy) and Donnell (or whoever is the TE). However; this will decrease Beckham’s production throughout the course of the season.
Final Thoughts: I still believe Beckham Jr. can be a very productive player for the Giants moving forward. However; I question whether he can sustain these numbers or improve upon them if he continues to have hamstring issues.
According to the NFL Players Association, the average career length for an NFL player is about 3.3 years. In Beckham Jr. case, I believe his window is longer than the averages suggest. However; if his hamstring continues to hinder him in his early years, he may not be able to play in his later years.