Odell Beckham Jr. has spent the offseason in the spotlight quite a lot. Ever since being traded to the Browns, Beckham has made numerous comments to the media, and (albeit, not really by his fault) was heavily scrutinized by the NFL fanbase for skipping out on Browns’ voluntary training camp sessions.
Indeed, Beckham has never been well hidden from the media eye. Ever since his incredible, trademark one-handed grab as a member of the Giants, he has been a regular for the media. Given that he joins a team expecting to be legitimately competitive this year, will he live up to the hype?
Yes, he definitely will. Here’s why:
Not factoring in an injury-laden 2017 season, Beckham has averaged over 90 catches per year (roughly six per game), 1,293 yards per season (roughly 80 yards per game) and has scored 41 TDs (a little over 10 per season). This was on an anemic Giants offense which frequently had to run their passing game through Beckham, lacking any sort of significant receiving threat otherwise. Until last year, the Giants also failed spectacularly to produce even a decent running game, and the washed-up veteran Eli Manning has also been Beckham’s main source of said production.
Beckham walks into a much friendlier position in Cleveland. Enter a much stronger quarterback in Baker Mayfield, a strong running game and deadly threats such as WR Jarvis Landry and TE David Njoku to take off some of the heat from Beckham. While that does mean Beckham is also competing for more for targets and receptions, it also means he’s going to have the luxury of receiving less attention from an opposing team’s defense, which means more 1-on-1 matchups and less double coverage. There’s also something to be said about a boosted morale, as a result of playing for a team who can actually threaten a playoff season and win more than six games a year.
While Beckham’s stats may or may not be stronger than his career averages, playing in more meaningful games will be where his standout contributions really begin to matter. In other words, Beckham’s stats won’t be just for show; they’ll actually aid a successful, contending team.
None of this means Beckham is guaranteed to live up to the hype, but there’s little to suggest he won’t. His talent is unquestionable.