by Ray Kuhn
Until this point Odell Beckham has been a bust for the New York Giants and fantasy owners. To call the first round pick a scarce participant in Training Camp this summer would be an understatement, and he has yet to take the field in an actual NFL game. This Sunday, that is slated to change.
So is it time to remove Beckham’s “bust” label? At this point any answer to that question would be pure speculation. Let’s start with what we know about Beckham and the situation he finds himself in.
The Giants had high hopes for Beckham. Yes, I know, of course they did since they drafted him in the first round of the draft, but it goes beyond that. Hakeem Nicks left this off-season for Indianapolis and New York saw Beckham as playing a large role in replacing him. Being unable to stay on the field this summer was frustrating for the Giants since he was viewed as a large part of their offense. That fact should make you feel optimistic about Beckham’s value this season.
But when will that happen?
Tom Coughlin’s general frustration and distaste for rookies is not a secret. Often times, it just takes one mistake for a rookie or young player to be nailed to the bench. Coughlin already hasn’t exactly shy at times this summer in expressing his displeasure with the injury.
After the first two weeks the argument could be made that Beckham was missed because something was lacking from the Giants’ offense. That has since changed, but the addition of the speedy rookie will be a welcome one as Eli Manning really does not have a third receiver to target (which became more of a need given the season ending injury to Jerel Jernigan).
Aside from six catches from Jernigan and seven from Preston Parker, who should be a non-factor, Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle have been it for Manning so far this season. Yes, Larry Donnell has emerged at tight end with 25 catches on 31 targets, and that will continue, but another weapon is needed for the passing game to truly reach its potential.
The addition of Beckham will not cause any of the other Giant receivers to be downgraded or lose much value. If anything, it might benefit Cruz and Donnell as Beckham will help to draw defenders away from them. Obviously the main beneficiary here is Manning.
Now while I do have moderately high hopes for Beckham, they have to be kept in check. He is still an injury risk as he hasn’t proved he can be or stay healthy. Additionally he is a rookie, and at that a rookie who did not have a traditional training camp. The next time he steps onto an NFL field it will be his first.
There certainly is the chance for some big plays, but it will take a few weeks to accurately evaluate his role and for there to be some consistency. Beckham is worth a stash on your bench if you have the space, but he is a few weeks away (at least) from your starting lineup.
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