The Eagles surprised many with their acquisition of Wide Receiver Dorial Green-Beckham from Tennessee. On the surface, the Eagles have given up a backup Lineman who has struggled in Philadelphia, for a former second round pick who averaged over 17 yards per reception and received for over 500 yards in his rookie season. So, what’s the catch? The immediate red flag is the so called “character issues” that have persisted to haunt DGB throughout his career, but is there anything we can see on the field that would convince the Titans to let him go for so little? Here’s exactly what the Eagles are getting in Dorial Green-Beckham.
He may have averaged over 17 yards per catch in his rookie season, but one of Dorial Green-Beckham’s main strengths is his efficiency in the redzone. His 6’5 and 237 pound frame makes him incredibly difficult to shutdown when a ball is thrown into a corner of the endzone, simply because he has such a height advantage (more on that later).
For instance in this TD reception against the Colts, Green-Beckham was able to get to the outside and leap up to the point where only h e could make the reception. With Pederson placing such an emphasis on redzone efficiency, this is the perfect compliment to a complex Eagles Offense.
Against the Browns, DGB showed a similar level of athleticism, darting over the front of the endzone and leaping up to make a catch.
The final play highlighted was actually a two-point conversion..and chosen for two reasons. One, because of how physical DGB was on the play, pushing his man away, forcing him to the ground and creating space to haul in the catch. Trying to cover Green-Beckham in man-to-man coverage is a nightmare for any corner..and this is why. The second reason is because it’s an area where Doug Pederson may look to try and improve during 2016. Two-point conversions are becoming more and more pivotal with ever-changing rules enticing team’s to go for it on fourth and short..and with so many dimensions to the West-Coast Offense, Pederson could really utilize a weapon like Green-Beckham.
The West-Coast Offense traditionally involves a lot of routes over the middle, short comebacks, fades and curls. These short passes are where Green Beckham could really come in handy if utilized properly. As we can see from this reception against the Dolphins, it’s tough to force an incompletion if DGB gets inside..simply because of how imposing he is physically. His routes may be inconsistent (again, we’ll get to that) but if he is able to outwit the corner, it’s essentially game over. With Pederson looking for reliability and consistency on the outside, Green-Beckham could be a dominant mid-range weapon if he can prove himself worthy of a starting role.
The ability to get open over the middle can also help in the redzone. If you’re trying to create mismatches inside the 20, DGB is a dream. This is exactly the kind of play we could expect to see with Carson Wentz at the helm, but Green-Beckham’s ability to catch in traffic over the middle and use his frame to his advantage could see him as a great fit in a system that’s built on short, explosive routes.
Catch in Traffic:
The previous point leads us perfectly onto what I believe to be Green-Beckham’s other major underrated strength, his ability to catch in traffic. Coverage against a West Coast Offense can often be tight because the Defense knows that short passes are the heartbreat of the passing Offense. Luckily, this doesn’t intimidate Green-Beckham.
Against the Texans, DGB was really able to impose his will. Pushing his way behind a linebacker to create a small window over the middle to then haul in a pass with his body and push himself down the field for extra yards.
The toughness of the 23 year old is what makes him so dominant in traffic. He’s incredibly difficult to bring down and as a result if he’s given enough of an opportunity to make the catch, the Defense will be fighting a losing battle. Despite the 17 yards per reception average, a large portion of his receptions were short plays. His toughness enabled him to average over 4 yards after the catch during his rookie season, something that proved invaluable to the Titans Offense at times.
In the next few plays, you really get to see how much the dominant frame of Green-Beckham helps him. After cutting inside effortlessly against the Colts to beat his man, DGB reached up for a reception and despite a tackle attempt, was able to keep pushing his way to the sidelines. Something that could prove to be extremely important in clutch situations.
This is arguably DGB’s most impressive play of 2015. Not only does he haul in the catch in double coverage, he bounces off of a hard tackle, turns his back to the oncoming pressure and sprints for the endzone, eventually leaping out of a tackle to put up six. Nothing says athletic like a 6’5 machine shrugging off everything thrown his way.
Against the Patriots, it was a similar story. A big push after DGB swiped a pass from above the cornerbacks head was not enough to push him out of bounds, nor was it enough to force the incompletion.
Inconsistent route running:
One of the main drawbacks to DGB’s game is his route running. It’s often sloppy and his awareness isn’t always at its best. For instance on this play, he’s way too late cutting inside..allowing his man to read the play, sneak underneath and very almost come up with an interception.
“Lazy” at times:
This comes hand in hand with questions over his work ethic and just how varied his season was. From two 100+ yard receiving games to eight under 50, DGB’s drive has often been criticized, it was even a problem back in College. This for instance, should not be a battle that a 6’5 receiver should be losing. Kip Williams, an undrafted corner from 2013 is 6’1. That’s a 4 inch difference and yet he’s somehow able to tip a pass away from a receiver who looked slow after he had broken from coverage. A great play by Williams..but you have to question why DGB didn’t make more of an effort.
Yep, believe it or not, the Eagles have signed a receiver who struggles tremendously with drops. Last year, the Eagles had a 6% drop rate, Green-Beckham had a 6.9% drop rate.
Sigh. These don’t even need an explanation. Some can arguably be put down to “effort” while others are just simply bad reads/attempts. The main defense for the drops was that a lot of the incompletions DGB suffered were a direct consequence of a poor throw. But on each of the above plays, the throw as almost perfect. There were times where he was underthrown and overthrown, but the bottom line is that there were other times where the receiver made a bad play..and considering how almost every receiver on the Eagles roster has struggled with drops both last season and throughout the summer, it’s hardly encouraging.
In fact against Oakland, Green-Beckham was targeted 5 times. He dropped two passes, narrowly missed a catch on another, was overthrown and caught just one reception.
In terms of a system fit and what the Eagles have given up to attain the services of last year’s 40th overall pick, the Eagles could have an absolute steal on their hands..if they can mold him. They’re struggling to iron out the inconsistencies of the majority of receivers on their roster, let alone one with off-field issues and who was being beaten in camp by a fifth round pick.
With that being said, it’s clear that Green-Beckham is a phenomenal athlete who seems like a dream fit for this Offense, the question is if he makes the roster as a starter, who loses out? The sky is the limit for a receiver who the Eagles have taken a low-risk, high-reward gamble on..but like many of the “gambles” taken this offseason, not many have pondered what happens if this “high-reward” never pays off. But that’s an article for another day.
Dorial Green-Beckham is arguably the most versatile and definitely the most physically dominant receiver on the roster..but can the Eagles fit all the pieces of the jigsaw together to add another layer of unpredictability and production to their Offense?
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