In the early 2000s, the United States saw soccer superstar David Beckham leave the English Premier League and venture into Major League Soccer. This spawned a huge uptick in soccer interest across the country. This was the big name player on the world stage choosing the MLS as his new home. Beckham retired some years ago from soccer but there is a new Beckham taking America by storm from East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The world was introduced to Odell Cornelious Beckham Jr. a few weeks ago on Sunday Night Football. The Giants took on the division rival Cowboys at MetLife Stadium that night. Beckham started just his seventh career NFL game in New Jersey and he made a name for himself with just one play. You can hear NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth say in the broadcast that it may have been the greatest catch that he had ever seen. Twitter exploded. ESPN had a field day. Athletes all over the US reacted. Little did we know that it wasn’t even the best we would see of the Giants rookie we would see this year.
The Giants would lose that game to Dallas but no one seemed to care. Beckham had already been producing well. Three weeks before that Cowboys game, against Indianapolis, the LSU product racked up the incredible catch with an 8-catch 156-yard performance. Then against Seattle two weeks before the Dallas game, matched up with one of the best cover corners in the league in Richard Sherman, Beckham registered 7 catches for 108 yards. And in San Francisco, the talented rookie had 6 grabs for 93 more yards. After Beckham’s unreal catch against Dallas he had a solid week against Jacksonville with 7 catches and 90 yards before exploding again for 11 receptions and 130 yards against Tennessee just last week.
Today, Beckham returned to New Jersey to take on rival Washington. He dominated the entire day with 12 grabs for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Odell’s athleticism and massive hands have been too much for defensive backs to handle week in and week out. Beckham has made Eli Manning look like a much better quarterback over the past 9 weeks that he has been playing, coming down with a number of ridiculous jump balls.
The collective body of work has already thrown Beckham into the Pro Bowl conversation with only ten games played. The Offensive Rookie of the Year award will likely go to either the Giants wideout or Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans. Numbers do not fully cover how incredible Beckham has been but they are still impressive. In his very short career, he has racked up 71 catches for 972 yards and 9 touchdowns. That is usually a pretty good rookie season for a lot of rookies. What is even more impressive is that those 71 catches come on just 84 targets. That is an unbelievable ratio, especially when looking at the rest of the league. Before today’s games, Roddy White and Kelvin Benjamin have the same number of catches (59) on 85 and 110 targets respectively. Beckham only had 69 targets.
This kid from LSU is exciting to watch and Giants fans have to be excited for his potential. It is a very small sample size but Beckham has exceled without having a full offseason under his belt. I am not going to say that everyone should expect this same production next season because receivers are often susceptible to that sophomore slump. But Beckham should be a top-5 receiver year in year out if he continues to play like he has this season. You have to wonder too how dangerous this Giants passing attack could be if Victor Cruz was healthy and drawing coverage from Beckham as well. The point is, don’t be surprised when this guy is dominating secondarys over the next couple of years barring injury. Beckham might turn out to be the best of this outstanding rookie wide receiver class. Only time will tell.