Not knowing how the draft board would fall in the first round, the New York Giants suddenly found themselves with some interesting choices at No. 12.
Sitting there for the picking were Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Notre Dame offensive tackle Zack Martin and Ohio State outside linebacker Ryan Shazier.
However, the Giants decided to add some firepower to their passing game, selecting LSU receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the seventh receiver drafted by the Giants in the last nine years.
“We talk about the quarterback (Eli Manning) needing some help,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese told reporters following the selection of Beckham. “He needs some weapons. (Beckham) is a weapon on the outside.”
In three years for the Tigers, Beckham started 34 out of 40 games, accumulating 143 receptions for 2,340 yards and 12 touchdowns.
He’s also a weapon on both kickoff and punt returns, where he has a combined 1,621 return yards and two touchdowns on special teams.
“He brings a lot to the table for us,” Reese said. “He’s a dynamic outside receiver, a dynamic kickoff returner and a dynamic punt returner, so you’re really getting a guy who can score touchdowns three ways for you.”
While not very tall—Beckham is listed as 5’11” and 198 pounds—the Giants, who have historically gone with receivers, don’t seem bothered by Beckham’s smaller stature.
“Look at the Super Bowl—how tall were those receivers?” Reese said of the Seahawks’ starting receivers in the Super Bowl, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, both listed at 5'10".
“Tall receivers don’t always correlate to Super Bowl wins,” Reese added. “Would you like to have a 6'5" guy to run routes? Sure, but I don’t think you have to have that to win the Super Bowl—the Seahawks showed that.”
“I can come in and if I get the opportunity to play, I think I can bring a deep threat or whatever the team needs me to do,” Beckham told reporters during a conference call.”
Reese said that Victor Cruz, who prior to the draft opined during an interview with NFL Network that a big-play receiver "is something we need in this offense to be successful," will continue to work primarily from the slot, occasionally working outside as well.
Rueben Randle—whom Reese told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine was a “good player” but also added, “I’m not sure if he’s a one, if he’s a two, if he’s a three”—will compete with Mario Manningham for the third receiver role.
The big question is if Beckham can come in and contribute right away for a Tom Coughlin-coached team that rarely starts a rookie right out of the chute.
“I think for a young man of Odell’s skill and his level of intelligence, that he will pick this up relatively quickly,” Coughlin told reporters in his press conference following the pick. “I think he’ll be on the same page with the quarterback right away.”