New York Giants’ third-year receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is talented – he’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two years in the league. He is not, however, as good as he seems to think he is. This year in particular he has failed to keep pace with Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Allen Robinson and several other perennial top wide receivers.
Almost anyone can have a 1,000 yard receiving season if thrown to often enough. The best way to assess a wide receiver’s value, though, is to look at his efficiency or productivity. One statistic for this is a receiver’s average number of yards gained for each time a receiver is thrown to.
As a rookie, Beckham had a fine average of 10.04 yards per target. In 2015 it dropped off to 9.18. In his four games so far this year, Beckham has been targeted 39 times, and has gained 303 yards, an average gain per throw of only 7.77 yards. In terms of productivity, Beckham is having at best an average year so far.
Beckham’s teammate, Sterling Shepard, a unheralded rookie taken in the second round, has been targeted 26 times and has gained 263 yards – a much better 10.1 yard average. New York’s third wide receiver, veteran Victor Cruz, has been thrown to 24 times and gained 245 yards — an almost identical 10.2 yard average.
The more Beckham demands that he be made the focus of his team’s passing attack, the less efficient the Giants’ passing attack becomes.
Stories out of New York this week are all about how the coaches, led by former Packers’ QB coach Ben McAdoo, have had enough of Beckham’s tantrums – and that Beckham will be benched the next time he exhibits disruptive behavior.
Based on how Beckham’s productivity has fallen off, placing less emphasis on Beckham could actually improve New York’s passing attack. It’s an attack that has been one of the league’s best for close to a decade — and long before Beckham arrived on the scene.