Last night on an ESPN “On The Clock” special, Mel Kiper Jr. brought up an interesting name not previously associated with the Detroit Lions at pick 10.
It was Odell Beckham Jr., a wide receiver out of LSU. After Todd McShay named Beckham the top player available in his “All-Satellite” team (the best players in space), Kiper wondered aloud if the Lions might consider Beckham with the 10th pick, considering his speed and playmaking ability. McShay was naming players, while Kiper was finding their closest fit in the draft.
Detroit, of course, will be looking for another wide receiver this May, trying desperately to find some additional help for Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. Early in the draft process, many have tagged a move up for Watkins or a selection of Texas A&M’s Mike Evans as the 10th pick as the most likely options if the Lions decide to make a dramatic early move at the position.
It’s looking likely, however, that both will be gone by the time Detroit picks. If the Lions don’t make a significant move up, would Beckham be the best choice they could make at the position early on? Most have viewed him as a first round pick, albeit later on in the middle of the round.
Beckham, of course, has elite speed, running a 4.43 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. He’s also got plenty of breakaway moves in the open field. His size matches up favorably with Watkins (6’0″ when compared to 6’1″), as does his production (8 touchdowns and 1,152 yards to Watkins’ 12 touchdowns and 1,464 yards) so from that standpoint, the offensive difference between the two might not be that dramatic in the end.
Those who view Watkins or Evans as Detroit’s only means to the end of solving their wide receiver need can open their eyes a bit wider. Not only could Beckham become a serious player early, but the Lions could also consider Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks at 10 or Kent State’s versatile runner Dri Archer in the second or third round, whom they recently hosted on a pre-draft visit.
For what it’s worth, Kiper ended up sending Beckham to the New York Giants at pick 12, but by throwing Beckham into the mix as early as pick 10, Kiper provided fans and analysts plenty to think about in the meantime.
Namely, is the difference between Watkins, Evans and Beckham that glaring, and is it really worth sacrificing picks to secure a chance at one of the other two?