Dynasty Draft Profile: Dorial Green-Beckham
March 18, 2015 | Rich Hribar
*MSYD = % of Team Receiving Yardage
There may not be a Rorschach test from an on and off field stance in this class quite like Dorial Green-Beckham. His off field issues are certainly well documented and he has recently addressed those transgressions, which caused him to be dismissed from the Missouri football program and transfer to Oklahoma where inevitably he was ruled ineligible to play this past season. While he was still able to practice with the team, there aren’t many examples of a player sitting out an entire season just prior to entering the league and being selected with premium draft capital at the receiver position. Josh Gordon was a supplemental choice after sitting out all 2011, but the last name that comes to mind for a player in an upcoming draft is Mike Williams from USC, who challenged the league’s entry rules and lost, forcing him to go a year without football before being draft eligible.
Unlike Williams, who wrecked competition for two seasons at a premium school, catching 176 passes and scoring 30 touchdowns at ages 18 and 19, we’ve never seen a full plate of dominant production from DGB in which he’s harnessed all of his raw ability that comes packaged with elite size. If we extrapolate the increase in his production as a sophomore from his freshman season he may have posted a 87/1312/18 line in 2014, but that’s not a just way to create a level of expectation for what he could’ve done. We have seen that he can be an elite touchdown producer and given his frame, that is where he should be able to make immediate damage in the NFL while he harnesses in the rest of his game.
His size is rare and it’s hard to get a get a good set of comparisons for him because the player pool of receivers that tall and heavy is so shallow and he has no real final season production. In a special case like his, I do want to see how he measures as an athlete to other players his size, so I’ve pulled out every receiver who meets the arbitrary cutoffs of 6’4” and taller and also weighed 225 pounds or more entering the league.
|Dor. Green-Beckham||Oklahoma||2015||n/a||77||237||4.49||33.5||119||4.45||6.89||32 1/2||9|
|Brandon Coleman||Rutgers||2014||UFA||78||225||4.56||32.5||n/a||4.51||7.33||34||9 1/4|
|Kelvin Benjamin||Florida State||2014||28||77||240||4.61||32.5||119||4.39||7.33||34 7/8||10 1/4|
|Mike Evans||Texas A&M||2014||7||77||231||4.53||37.0||n/a||4.26||7.08||35 1/8||9 5/8|
|Jon Baldwin||Pittsburgh||2011||26||76||228||4.52||42.0||129||4.34||7.07||33 5/8||10 1/8|
|Ramses Barden||Cal Poly||2009||85||78||229||4.66||33.5||118||4.26||7.10||34 1/2||10 3/4|
|Calvin Johnson||Georgia Tech||2007||2||77||239||4.35||42.5||139||n/a||n/a||33 3/8||9 1/4|
|Brandon Marshall||Central Florida||2006||119||77||229||4.52||37.0||120||4.31||6.96||32 5/8||n/a|
|Vincent Jackson||Northern Colorado||2005||61||77||241||4.51||39.0||129||4.00||n/a||32||9 5/8|
|Plaxico Burress||Michigan State||2000||8||78||231||n/a||33.0||115||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
Although we’ve seen smaller and svelte receivers be drafted highly recently in Tavon Austin, Brandin Cooks and Kendall Wright, one thing that immediately pops is that the NFL clearly values players with this unique blend of premium size. Of all the players, just one was drafted outside of the third round and just one went undrafted. The selection of Matt Jones, a player who played quarterback while at Arkansas may even suggest the league values these attributes to a fault, but there are a good share of hits on the board as well, to go with some big misses. Marshall, Jackson, Burress and Megatron have combined for 25 top-30 scoring PPR seasons with both Evans and Benjamin achieving such as rookies last season, while Jones, Baldwin, Williams and Barden were largely ineffective for their brief careers.
One thing discussed over the weekend of the combine with Green-Beckham was the slight disappointment that he showed in the jumping drills, and you can see he’s on the shorter end of those outcomes for players with his length. It’s also not a death knell because as Burress and Benjamin last year have shown, you don’t necessarily need to leap tall buildings when you’re inherently that big to still maximize your frame. The same applies to wingspan which he ranks on the smaller scale in this group. It’s been reported unofficially that Marshall has only 8 7/8” hands and Johnson doesn’t possess baseball mitts, while Vincent Jackson has similar arm length. Even on the lower end of the measurements, there’s still a lot of body to deal with for defenders who are consistently smaller. In terms of straight line speed, he shines among his cohorts, with only Jones and Johnson faster and his agility is superb, like much of the group.
On the field, functional strength is a concern, especially for a player his size. DGB continually lacks separation in breaks and often struggles with physical coverage on the outside. When he does choose to play up to his size, he’s really unguardable in one on one situations like this, we just don’t see it consistently enough.
He was really limited in how he was used as well, in that he was mostly given the ball at the line of scrimmage or used as a strict vertically option. Vertically is where he shines, whether it’s with his stellar straight line speed that he displayed at the combine or near the paint. His best football trait is his amazing body control which can sometimes mask mistakes he makes in timing jumps and ball tracking.
Those types of plays are nearly indefensible and with the passing game shifting to a speed and spacing game in which teams are generating isolation situations, that ability in his frame is a weapon even if he never develops any nuance at the position. As mentioned, he was often given the ball near the line of scrimmage and as his agility shows, he can win in the small receiver game as well, although these types of movements seem to come more often when he actually has the ball in his hands rather than using agility to create separation in routes.
His ceiling is rare and he’s already displayed capability to be a touchdown producer. In the end, Green-Beckham is a unique talent and specimen, but one that still requires a step of faith in terms of development and with the extracurricular baggage that he carries into the league. What will truly tell the tale for fantasy owners is when and where he his selected this spring. If a team shows they are willing to invest high-end draft capital in him as a first or early to mid-second rounder, then all systems are a go in using a top 6 rookie pick on him in your drafts. If he slips into the third round or later by whatever circumstances, than that pushes him slightly lower into the first round as an investment since opportunity may not be immediately available for him.
Green-Beckham didn’t quite go in the late first round, but he wasn’t far off by being selected 40th overall by the Titans. I would’ve preferred that he landed with a team in the late first because it likely meant that he was headed to a structured environment with potentially a stable quarterback situation, but all things given, it’s a positive sign that he was valued in that area overall. If he’s shaken the stigma that follows him off of the field, then I’d expect his talent would vault him ahead of Justin Hunter and Hakeem Nicks in short time. When and if that happens, he’ll have the opportunity to grow alongside Marcus Mariota as one of his main targets. There’s still a lot of risk in DGB though compared to landing spots of other receivers in that he will initially have to fight for targets amongst a crowded group, the Titans will be grooming a rookie quarterback in what we assume will be a subpar situation overall and we still have no clue how anything ancillary will play into his development. I still believe he has the highest ceiling of this draft class and could possibility be a makeup pick on Tennessee selecting Kevin Dyson over Randy Moss in 1998, but the ceiling wasn’t enhanced by his landing spot and his floor remains lower than the other top 10 receivers given the fringe components in play. He’s still a player I would love to land if the price is right, but I had to move him below Breshad Perriman and Nelson Agholor at wide receiver and near the turn overall in 12 team leagues.
Early 2015 Projection: 74.6 TGT/41.0 REC/582.8 YDS/4.1 TD