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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Around The Draft: Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks

It's called "around the draft" because it was around 60 days.  My once a day situation has started to fail me again since Friday, so it might or might not be time for another clump of these.

I'm throwing out two guys that traditional wisdom has slowly falling toward this 28 pick, possibly. Two receivers.  I'll compare and contrast at the end. 

Brandin Cooks, 5'10, 186 from Oregon State is a blazing receiver (4.33 at combine) who makes me miss Al Davis. 

He's all the things you want athletically - fast, quick, good balance - and while he was very productive in college, he's lacking all the other parts of physicality - strength, physicality, large catching radius, large hands.  He could struggle with the chuck at the line and against man coverage.

Consequently, yeah, he can play the slot. He might find a utility there the way that teams have attempted to use Percy Harvin and Tavon Austin in non-traditional slot roles.  It's tougher to scheme against a guy like that inside.  However, the inside tends to be a place for physical guys (the above two are exceptions).  

So, the question is, when Cooks becomes a guy who requires attention, what happens when the corner is on him, and the safety trails?  Do you pick up Cooks to be the 2nd guy, the guy who gets the screens setup and the punt returner part of him picks up all the RAC he can? 

On the other end, I have Odell Beckham.  
Not that physically different at 5'11, 190, he's somewhat weak but comparatively, there's some feeling Beckham can get stronger.  4.43 gives him a full tenth slower, but still fast.  His breaks, just as fast.  Not as explosive, but not by as much - and more polished.  He's had to beat the jam - in the SEC - and can.  

He's going to get out-muscled at times, and his routes can be a little better.  But he seems to have the bigger details covered.  He's the more classic #2 guy.  He might be a guy who can flourish in both the outside role and play the slot, if he gets the smaller details covered. 

Neither guy is ideal, and yet both have more talent than anyone on the team at their position.  I could see either guy taking on a heavy role, stretching the field a bit while Jerricho Cotchery takes the hard yards shorter.  Either guy could add some flavor to the offense the way that Steve Smith did to the boring offenses he played under for most of his career, sure.  

Whether you're looking for a guy that can do it all or just a guy that can do more than the team currently can, these guys can fit.  I do wonder if either player, lacking more size, can be everything for a team.  Would a player 3" taller, with a lot more physicality, be the guy to carry this team's passing game instead?  You could argue this offense can do more with two big men than with two streaking receivers, in its grind-out, ball control style. 

I'm not trying to stretch too hard to fit these guys in. Either, along with Marquise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin, are guys who could go high as 12 or so, or late as 40.  You never really know.  I could limit it down to the guys I think would be there, but who knows how that'll work.  

I know that, a deep draft at WR notwithstanding, more teams are running 3WR and the spread won't make that go away.  I know I've seen plenty of times where a "deep" draft at a position plus a need can often mean less talent available, rather than more.  So all of those guys could be gone, too.  
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