NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
By now you know the name, however you probably don’t know the full story. As one of the highest rated high school prospects ever, Dorial Green-Breckham was once a consensus 5 star recruit by every national rating service. His physical ability is overwhelming. If you were to create a wide receiver in Madden, you would probably create a player with a similar stature to Green-Beckham. At 6’6 and 225 lbs, his frame alone is enough to beat most defensive backs. Add in the legitimate 4.40 speed with leaping ability, and we have a monster on our hands.
Once he arrived at the University of Missouri, Green-Beckham had a roller coaster ride from start to finish. But let’s dial it back a little bit. Dorial Green as he was born was something of a miracle baby. His mother used drugs while she was pregnant with him, and was unconscious one night while 6 months into the pregnancy. Doctors were able to save her, but informed her that the baby she was carrying didn’t make it.
Chalk that up as the first time Green-Beckham proved people wrong.
DGB never knew his biological father. He was adopted by his high school football coach, John Beckham and his wife Tracy, who also adopted his younger brother Darnell in 2009.
He arrived in Columbia as the number one overall recruit in the country at a school that, let’s just say normally doesn’t attract that kind of talent. As a true freshmen, he saw action, but made a limited impact in his first four games. A week later, #15 burned UCF for a 80 yard touchdown, a play instrumental in the Tigers’ 21-16 win. Green-Beckham was then suspended for the next two games after a marijuana possession arrest.
As a sophomore, the hype began to match the production. Missouri didn’t exactly run what would be considered a wide receiver friendly offense, but Dorial still shined on the field.
His four touchdown coming out party vs Kentucky was unreal, but it was the SEC Championship last year where DGB really grabbed my attention. Stuck having to play from behind, Missouri had to ditch their running game for the most part and look to the Georgia Dome skies. It didn’t take Bear Bryant to realize where the Tigers were going with the football. DGB kept the Tigers in the game for a while as the best player on the field (6-144-2), but it was the Tigers from the Plains of Auburn who were too much to keep up with. Regardless, he earned the hype he had received.
He then caught 4 passes in the Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State, which turned out to be Green-Beckham’s last game as a Tiger. He was dismissed from the team in April, following an investigation where allegedly, Green-Beckham pushed a female down a flight of stairs. He was never charged, but after his two drug related arrests combined with this incident, Coach Gary Pinkel had seen enough.
Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma, where he had to sit out the 2014 season. After not playing a down for the Sooners, DGB entered the NFL Draft.
“But what’s his draft stock!?”
I hate comparisons. I always have. I think they are flat out dumb and only useful for casual sports fans to argue in Hobby Shops. But one situation does scream RELEVANCY to me, and that is Dez Bryant. No, I don’t think they are that similar as players. For one, Green-Beckham is 4 inches taller, and just a tad heavier then Dez. But boy, are they similar as far as pre-draft drama.
Like Green-Beckham, Dez Bryant had to miss significant time before entering the draft leaving some area for doubt. Bryant violated NCAA bylaws, and was suspended on October 7 of that season forward. Bryant never had drug issues, or allegedly pushed a girl down a flight of stairs, however former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus told KRLD-FM in a 2013 phone interview that Dez had “the worst background he had ever seen coming out of college”.
Nobody denied Dez Bryant’s talents. As a matter of fact an awful lot of Patriot fans were upset that their team traded the #24 pick in the 2010 NFL draft to Dallas, and well, you know the rest. The team traded down 3 spots and drafted a cornerback from Rutgers, Devin McCourty. Also involved in that deal, was a certain tight end from the University of Florida in the fourth round who eventually rocked Randy Moss’ old #81 (pick originally from Denver when New England traded down from #22 to #24 before Cowboys trade). A trade I believe New England still probably makes today if they could have seen into the future. McCourty has been a crucial part of the secondary ever since he stepped foot in New England, so I’d say it’s something of a win-win for both teams.
But in a redraft, where would Bryant go? Of players drafted ahead of Bryant, the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry, and Trent Williams would all still probably be drafted first. Up next? I’ll take Dez over Demaryius Thomas (drafted 2 picks before Bryant in 2010), Joe Haden, and Earl Thomas. Either way you cut it, Dez doesn’t get out of the top 8-10 picks. That is the kind of talent he has. That is the kind of talent Dorial Green-Beckham has.
DGB on film
For one, I think Missouri did a nice job preparing DGB for the NFL. Similar to how Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin moved Amari Cooper around this season, Green-Beckham has lined up both inside and outside running a variety of different routes.
Of particular interest to me was how the Tigers used Green-Beckham on screens. Both as the X and Y receiver on the outside, as well as in the slot, DGB showed he was a threat in the screen game as he could be lethal after the catch. Not so much a Percy Harvin at Florida lethal, but a ‘LeGarrette Blount in the open field and I just don’t want to tackle that man’ kind of lethal. He dropped some of these easy screens while at Mizzou, but more times than not showed the ability to catch the ball, get up field and get the most out of a play.
When not used in the short game, DGB could be known as a freakish threat down the field. Point blank, he is a big body who knows exactly how to use that big body. He is excellent using his body pre-catch, normally beating the defensive back before the ball even arrives. Once it’s within reach – DGB has shown the ability to snatch the ball at the highest point. This is a trait most incoming rookies struggle with.
He is a long-strider. All too often on film opposing cornerbacks give 7-10 yards of soft coverage off the line to DGB, and all too often within just a few strides not only has he erased the cushion but has already beaten the cornerback in his route.
His on the field weakness is a bit nit-picky. My main issue is that for a guy his size, he should be an excellent blocker. However I’ve seen some poor blocking technique time and time again, which mainly is just an effort problem. He isn’t the best route runner I’ve seen, often times just being too tight in his hips in breaks. His hands can be a little inconsistent, although I don’t see drops being a major problem for him in the NFL.
“So tell me already, what’s his draft stock!”
This seems to be the only question people want to know this time of year. Right now? Who knows. The sense is somewhere around 18-25. But it is January for goodness sake, and so much will change from now to draft day. We are all expecting DGB to be a combine hero, where he will likely be one of the top 2 or 3 pure athletes in Indianapolis. Of most importance here will be the interview process.
Can teams trust him? In a wide receiver deep draft, is he worth a first round pick? Will he be able to contribute on the field while behaving off the field? These are tough questions that will surround Green-Beckham.
These questions will not go away either – just look at Browns should be super-star Josh Gordon. Gordon is a guy who should be in Hawaii (and sometimes Glendale) every single year for the Pro Bowl. But he wasn’t this year because of multiple suspensions, his most recent a failed drug test (alcohol). He is facing a season long suspension, and what should be a bright future for the former Baylor Bear has quickly became very murky.
Dorial Green-Beckham already has two drug possession arrests. Personally, I’m not as worried about that. The reason of why he departed from Missouri is a different issue and will be the big topic of interest among multiple NFL teams.
If I’m the general manager of a NFL team, there are some factors to weigh. For one, this is a pretty deep wide receiver group this year. I feel pretty confident in saying Amari Cooper will be the first receiver off the board this year. After that it can be left open to interpretation.
West Virginia’s Kevin White and Louisville’s DeVante Parker are both big body guys who should be first round picks. Ohio State’s Devin Smith is rocketing up draft boards from virtual unknown to a potential day one pick, and I personally still love Arizona State product Jaelen Strong. Don’t forget about Auburn’s Sammie Coates either.
Teams can also…you know…just pass on a receiver all together and try their luck in the later rounds. A successful strategy last year for teams, and this year’s bunch of mid-tier guys should produce at least a few productive pass catchers.
As highlighted in my recent All-Underrated team, there are a few guys who I really like past the first round. Washington State receiver Vince Mayle is a guy who I think has ‘steal of the draft potential’, and I also am intrigued by small school beast (6’4 220) Dezmin Lewis from Central Arkansas.
All of that being said, I have Dorial Green-Beckham as my second rated receiver past Cooper. Would I take him in the high teens over a Parker or White caliber player? Probably not. The risk may be too high. But if I’m a team at the end of the first round, there won’t be a player on the board with higher upside (talent speaking) then DGB.
Dorial Green-Beckham has been through a lot in his life. Some self-inflicted, some not. Whatever the case may be, the talent is undeniable. I personally believe he is worth the risk.
Jerry Jones always mentions his biggest mistake owning the Cowboys was passing on that troubled receiver from Marshall who smoked too much weed and got kicked out of two major institutions. That receiver of course was Randy Moss.
I’m not saying DGB will become Randy Moss dynamic. In his prime Moss is the greatest receiver I’ve ever seen, and his name is used as a verb for cryin’ out loud. But I truly believe the ceiling of talent is close.
Now you know the name – and a little bit more of the story. Regardless of your opinion, Dorial Green-Beckham will be one of the most polarizing story lines in the 2015 NFL Draft. Get your popcorn ready, this will be a show you won’t want to miss.