Rookie Report Card: Dorial Green-Beckham

Dan Meylor


Each week throughout the season, I’ll cover one or two rookies in the Rookie Report Card and try to always include the biggest performers from that particular week. On top of reviewing my expectations for each player coming into the league and covering how he’s performed at the NFL level to this point, I’ll actually give him a grade in three categories. Those categories are performance to date, 2015 potential and long term upside.

The series continues with a look at Dorial Green-Beckham.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN
Week 15 Stats: six receptions, 113 receiving yards on nine targets

One of the most impressive athletes to enter the league in years, Green-Beckham has an incredible mix of height and speed. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing a solid 237 pounds, he has the body of a playmaking receiver. Rarely does that kind of size come with 4.4 speed but that’s the case with DGB – who was one of my favorite prospects in last year’s draft despite the off the field question marks surrounding him.

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

Green-Beckham’s strengths all revolve around his speed as a vertical receiver. At the snap of the ball he bursts off the line of scrimmage, immediately eliminating any cushion opposing defensive backs have allowed. Getting to full speed quickly, he has long strides which help him get separation on deep routes. Also showing a knack for gliding under the ball and catching it over his shoulder, he has the ability to hit a high gear when needed to get a pass thrown a bit too deep.

Although Green-Beckham doesn’t have a world class vertical (33.5 inches) he certainly has an impressive catch radius. Because he’s so tall, he’s able to catch balls that are thrown high, but his athleticism makes it possible to catch errant throws that are behind him or low. His ability to adjust to a bad toss was jaw dropping at times while he was at Missouri. It wasn’t uncommon to see him on crossing routes, turning his upper body parallel to the line of scrimmage to catch a ball thrown behind him while continuing to run at full speed.

That all leads to Green-Beckham’s biggest asset – his hands. At the point of the catch, there have only been a handful of receivers that have been as impressive coming out of college. Effortlessly plucking the ball out of the air and never letting it get to his body, he has extremely reliable, soft hands. Although he’s no Odell Beckham Jr., he’s also shown the ability on multiple occasions to make the spectacular, one-handed grab.

This may sound like I’m describing the next Randy Moss and might be suggesting to dynasty owners to acquire Green-Beckham at any cost. I’m not however. While DGB definitely has the size and skills to become a WR1 and the upside to become Moss-like, there are also a handful of red flags associated with him, both on and off the field, that dynasty owners should consider going forward.

At this point, most dynasty owners should know about Green-Beckham’s transgressions while at Missouri that caused the team to dismiss him from their program. Therefore, there’s little reason to go into that again here. Instead, let’s remind everybody what made scouts and dynasty owners scratch their heads when looking at him on the field.

The most glaring weakness to Green-Beckham’s game is his lack of physicality. A wide out of his size should be physical, dominating smaller cornerbacks but that’s not the case with Green-Beckham. This is most evident in two places – at the line of scrimmage and at the point of the catch.

When a defense chooses to play tight, man-to-man coverage, Green-Beckham can be rerouted far too easily. Instead of getting his hands on the defensive back off the line of scrimmage, he allows them to get under his pads and alter his route.

Green Beckham’s lack of physicality also shows up on jump balls and in “50/50” situations. Although he’s typically bigger than anybody else making a play on the ball, he doesn’t use his large frame in traffic to “box out” defenders before going up for the catch. This is especially maddening in the red zone as he’s has the ideal size to run fades near the goal line.

On top of the lack of physicality that Green-Beckham has displayed at times, he’s also an extremely unpolished routed runner. Despite forcing defensive backs to respect his speed and turn their hips to run with him, he leans in the direction of his breaks and rounds off his routes far too often. While this could be a product of a young wide receiver that needs time to master his craft, it’s certainly a valid concern.

Despite all these things however, I still saw Green-Beckham as a top six prospect in last year’s rookie drafts. Although ending up in Tennessee after they selected him early in the second round wasn’t an ideal landing spot, developing together with Marcus Mariota over the next handful of years should have made it a bit more appealing to dynasty owners.

Many dynasty owners, particularly those that took him as a top eight pick,maybe a bit disappointed in Green-Beckham’s production to this point in his rookie season. Catching 30 passes for 528 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games, many expected more. Those that think as much should keep in mind that DGB missed an entire year of football before being selected by the Titans – and was being held back considerably early in the season by the previous coaching staff.

Things have changed drastically for Green-Beckham recently. He’s been on the field more than any other Tennessee receiver over the last three weeks and has been targeted 22 times over that span, catching 14 balls for 285 yards and a touchdown. Outside of a horrible drop in week 13 against the Jaguars that resulted in a Jacksonville interception, Green-Beckham has been everything the Titans wanted him to be over the last few weeks. That was on display early and often against the Patriots on Sunday.

Although he had a few nice plays in the game, it was his catch in the second quarter that was Green-Beckham’s most impressive of game – Not for the catch as much as it was the way he battled both at the line of scrimmage and with the ball in the air. Lined up in the right slot, the Patriots had Logan Ryan in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Ryan tried to reroute him but he ran through the contact on the inside and bent the route back to the outside. The throw from Zach Mettenberger was slightly behind him, but he gently nudged Ryan past him and adjusted perfectly to make the grab.

Then in the third quarter, DGB raised a few more eyebrows. Lining up wide to the left across Ryan once again, he set the defender up with an inside jab before going deep to the outside. Although Ryan was running with him stride for stride and the ball should have been thrown high and away from the defensive back, it was a bit low and in line to hit Ryan in the back. Instead of letting that happen though, Green-Beckham showed a killer instinct by jumping over Ryan and reaching over his back to haul in the pass for 30 yards.

Overall, Sunday’s game was quite impressive for Green-Beckham, who went off for 113 yards on six catches. He showed good effort, running hard routes and displayed good footwork – particularly on a catch late in fourth quarter. His physicality and killer instinct with the ball in the air were the most welcomed parts to his play on Sunday and are signs of a player that is working on becoming better.

As the off-season approaches, dynasty owners should see DGB as an ascending asset. Although he started off slow this year, he’s proved over the last few weeks that he should be a big part of the Titans’ offense going forward and especially going into 2016. With Mariota pulling the trigger in the offense, he should be seen as a WR3 with massive upside.

There’s a good chance that Green-Beckham’s dynasty value goes up drastically over the off-season (particularly if he finishes the season strong.) It wouldn’t be surprising to see his value spike much like Davante Adams and Allen Robinson’s values spiked a year ago. While it’s unknown if he’ll soar like Robinson or plummet like Adams, he certainly has the upside to take the next step in his second year. He should be squarely on every dynasty owners “buy” list this off-season.



dan meylor