In an eye-opening move that will surely provoke further questions, the Tennessee Titans traded second-year receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for offensive lineman Dennis Kelly on Tuesday.
Green-Beckham, 23, was the Titans' second-round pick in 2015 at No. 40 overall. He recorded 32 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie and was expected to emerge as one of Tennessee's top targets this season.
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Kelly, 26, is a versatile offensive lineman who can play either the guard or right tackle spot. He appeared in 14 games, starting two, for the Eagles in 2015.
“I like his versatility," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said of Kelly, per Jim Wyatt of the Titans' official website. “He has really good size [6'8", 321 lbs], he’s versatile, he's played a lot of positions. He embodies the traits we look for in an offensive lineman—smart, tough and dependable.”
The move more than anything appears to be a rebuke on where Green-Beckham stands heading into his second NFL season. His slide to the second round of last year's draft was the result of a litany of off-field issues that prematurely ended his collegiate career. Two of those issues were marijuana-related.
While those problems haven't reared their head at the pro level, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday the Titans grew tired of Green-Beckham's work ethic. He showed up to training camp out of shape and was demoted to second-team action. Titans head coach Mike Mularkey openly insinuated DGB doesn't put enough time into getting better.
“I would do it more (than he’s doing),” Mularkey said, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I mean, he does do it. I would do it more.”
The Tennessee coaches were also cognizant of how Green-Beckham's year off in 2014 has affected his NFL preparedness. Missing an entire year of game time at such a critical developmental stage left him a little stunted in his growth, according to Titans wide receivers coach Bob Bratkowski.
“So you have to refine your skills,” Bratkowski told Thomas. “You have to refine your skills at your position and become a master at your craft. And that’s where that missed time on his part, you know, has kept him slowed down a little bit. He’s making steady progress.”
Even if Green-Beckham's progress was a little slower than anticipated, it's surprising the Titans were so willing to move on. At 6'5" and 237 pounds, Green-Beckham ran a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He's a physical marvel who has drawn Calvin Johnson comparisons since his collegiate days.
The level of impatience here—especially given the cost-controlled nature of DGB's contract—likely means the Titans had grown exasperated with his effort level and were ready to move on.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, gets a buy-low candidate at one of its weakest offensive positions. Learning the playbook at this late stage of camp may put Green-Beckham behind for the first half of 2016, but he's a potential breakout candidate later this season if this trade serves as a wake-up call.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.