Join Date: Apr 2008
Re: Bob McGinn on 2015 NFL Draft
Talented Dorial Green-Beckham comes with red flags
Green Bay — Alabama's Amari Cooper is regarded not only as the finest wide receiver in the draft but perhaps its second best player.
Yet, there are general managers and personnel directors in the National Football League who claim Oklahoma's Dorial Green-Beckham has the talent to become the finest in another stacked class of wide receivers if he can overcome his complex behavioral issues.
A Journal Sentinel poll this month of 19 personnel executives found 10 that picked defensive tackle Lawrence Williams as the No. 1 player in the draft.
Cooper, however, finished second with four votes, ahead of quarterback Marcus Mariota (2½), linebacker Dante Fowler (one), running back Melvin Gordon (one) and running back Todd Gurley (one-half).
"Cooper is as complete a player in this draft as you've got," said one personnel man.
Cooper also led the Journal Sentinel poll in which 19 scouts were asked to name their top five wide receivers (a first-place vote was worth five points, second-place was worth four and so on).
Capturing 12 first-place votes, Cooper totaled 88 points to edge Kevin White, who had the other seven firsts and 82 points.
Following, in order, were DeVante Parker (47 points). Nelson Agholor (16), Breshad Perriman (15), Jaelen Strong (12), Green-Beckham (nine), Devin Funchess (six), Phillip Dorsett (four), Devin Smith (three), Tyler Lockett (two) and Sammie Coates (one).
What, you might ask, is all this about Green-Beckham given that he finished a lowly seventh in the voting?
"He has the outstanding athletic package," an AFC personnel man said. "He may even be better than Cooper. Extremely talented."
That's a minority viewpoint among scouts, to be sure, but the AFC man isn't alone.
"Hard to cover downfield," said an another AFC scout. "Almost impossible to cover with a little corner. Super talented. He's a No. 1 for a team if he can control his demons."
Green-Beckham didn't even play in 2014 after being thrown out of Missouri 12 months ago for what several teams said were multiple failed drug tests and a domestic violence issue.
A few days before being dismissed, Green-Beckham was the subject of an investigation by police in Columbia, Mo., after an 18-year-old Missouri student and her roommate said he pushed the first woman, a friend of his girlfriend, down at least four stairs after forcing open the door to their apartment at 2:30 a.m.
Later, the two women informed police they chose not to press charges, and the case was closed without an arrest because of reluctant witnesses fearing retaliation.
Shortly before Missouri severed its relationship, Green-Beckham said in a statement, "Don't blame my girlfriend or her friends for anything. I have been young and dumb. During my suspension I'm entering counseling."
Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma, where he practiced but was denied a waiver to play immediately.
"At Oklahoma they vouch for the kid," one scout said. "They loved the kid. His pro day was at Oklahoma (March 11), which kind of tells you what they thought of him. His receivers coach (Jay Norvell) was fired, and that was a big reason he decided to come out.
"At Missouri, everybody that I talked to loves the kid. From a football standpoint, they'd bring him back 100%. But from a university standpoint he had too many issues. The drugs, the weed. Then there was the altercation with a girlfriend. From the university standpoint, they had no choice but to dismiss him."
Teams have had months to labor over Green-Beckham's background and determine if he can survive in the NFL.
His mother Charmelle Green battled alcohol and drugs. Green-Beckham, who never knew his biological father, overcame a harrowing upbringing largely due to the love of his adoptive parents, Tracy and John Beckham.
Two NFL executives who have done extensive research into Green-Beckham agreed that his way of coping was through substance abuse.
"I think he's got some deep internal scars and he tries to mask that pain with drugs and alcohol," one of the scouts said.
Earlier this month, Green-Beckham and his girlfriend went to dinner with officials from a team they were visiting.
"You leave liking him," one executive said after eating with Green-Beckham. "From a personality standpoint, pretty good. There's some light behind the eyes. They're about to have a baby....Seems to be maybe maturing."
Green-Beckham, 6 feet 5 inches and 236 pounds, has rare size and excellent speed (4.46-second 40).
He has been and could be compared to Calvin Johnson (6-5, 239, 4.35), Mike Evans (6-4½, 231, 4.52), Kelvin Benjamin (6-5, 241, 4.65), Brandon Marshall (6-4½, 227, 4.52), Vincent Jackson (6-4½, 238, 4.49) and Plaxico Burress (6-5½, 225, 4.56).
According to one scout, however, Green-Beckham's tape from 2013 was "about as raw as you can get. I really tried on him. Not quick, doesn't run good routes, inconsistent hands."
Skepticism abounds. A Journal Sentinel poll asking the 19 scouts which of the top wideouts had the best chance to bust showed Green-Beckham with 7½ votes followed by Funchess (3½), Perriman (three), Coates (two) and White, Parker and Strong, all one.
"If somebody wants him in the second round, go ahead," said one scout. "I used to draft these kind of guys."
Three times in the last decade (2005, '09, '12) teams had little to pick at tight end. Once again, tight end is largely bereft of talent.
"It's a weak class," one executive said. "None of them are blockers. I don't have one guy that I really feel solid about."
Minnesota's Maxx Williams was the clear-cut leader of a Journal Sentinel poll asking 19 scouts to list their top four tight ends.
Williams, with 15 first-place votes and 70 points, was followed by Clive Walford (49, one first), Tyler Kroft (21), Funchess (18, three firsts), Jeff Heuerman (12), Randall Telfer (five), Blake Bell (four), Busta Anderson (three), A.J. Derby (two), Jesse James (two), Nick O'Leary (two), James O'Shaughnessy (one) and Wes Saxton (one).
Summarized one executive: "Great wide-receiver year. Bad tight ends."
Jamison Crowder, WR, Duke: Plays and practices 100 mph every time he takes the field. Tied the Atlantic Coast Conference record for receptions (283). Quicker than fast. Measures 5-8½, weighs 180, runs 4.44 and isn't special returning kicks. Top character.
Darren Waller, WR, Georgia Tech: Extremely tall (6-6), extremely fast (4.45) and extremely smart (Wonderlic of 34). Yet, he started just 22 games over four seasons, wasn't productive, didn't block well and often didn't seem motivated. The talent's undeniably there, but scouts aren't sure if he likes football.
PACKERS' PICK TO REMEMBER
Barry Smith, WR, Florida State: First-round draft choice (No. 21 overall) in 1973 and all-time bust. Slow possession receiver caught just 41 passes for 604 yards (14.7) and four TDs in three seasons for poor teams. Made nine starts in '74. Closed forgettable career with four receptions for winless Tampa Bay in '76.
QUOTE TO NOTE
Veteran NFL scout: "As much as teams throw the ball now, they can dismiss a drop. I've got to get over that. Back in the day, you drop a ball, it was the end of the world."
1. MAXX WILLIAMS, Minnesota (6-4, 249, 4.84, 1-2): Third-year sophomore saw opportunity amid a woeful collection of tight ends and forfeited his final two seasons. "The confidence and the cockiness comes out because his dad's been through the process as a first-round draft choice," one scout said. "I'm sure they looked at it and said, 'Look, Maxx, this is the year to come out. You're the best one. Take a chance.'" Two-year stats were 61 catches for 986 (16.2) and 13 TDs. "He's easily the No. 1 guy," a second scout said. "He doesn't look sleek but I guarantee he can catch it, and he'll give you enough as a blocker, which sometimes you don't get from those sleek guys." Father, Brian, was the Giants' starting center for a decade. "He's one of those guys that jumps over people and stiff-arms," another scout said. "Real good hands. This guy will block, too." Wonderlic of 29. Hails from Waconia, Minn. "He's not a first-rounder," a third scout said. "He doesn't block. He's got really nice hands. He's got average speed. He's 4.8."
2. CLIVE WALFORD, Miami (6-4, 250, 4.75, 2-3): Played just one year of high-school football in Belle Glade, Fla. "He can block," one scout said. "He can get open. He can beat a DB one-on-one." Labeled as "probably the most complete tight end in the draft" by another scout. Improved each year, finishing with 87 catches for 1,299 (14.9) and 12 TDs. "He's a bigger guy who can actually run and catch and block," a third scout said. "The big game for him to watch is Florida State. Big hands (10¼), long arms (34), degree of toughness."
3. TYLER KROFT, Rutgers (6-5½, 247, 4.74, 3-4):Fourth-year junior. "He's a frat boy when you meet him," said one scout. "He's a very well-spoken, polished, a tad naïve. Very smart (Wonderlic of 32). He catches the ball. Really soft hands. And he's a get-in-the-way blocker." Two-year starter with 70 receptions for 901 (12.9) and five TDs. "Just a guy," said another scout. "He ain't got nothing," said another scout. "There are no tight ends. There's just bodies." From Downington, Pa. "He's light...in the (expletive) but he'll fight you on the line of scrimmage," a third scout said. "He's not a field stretcher. Been a little immature."
4. JEFF HEUERMAN, Ohio State (6-5, 253, 4.81, 3-4): Two scouts said Heuerman was only marginally better than ex-Packer Jake Stoneburner, his TE predecessor in Columbus. Played most of 2014 on a bad foot. "You didn't get to see all he was," one scout said. "He's got some strength in his upper body and he ended up being pretty productive as a blocker. Not a great athlete running routes. But you watch him work out and he can catch and adjust on the ball." Finished with 52 catches for 792 (15.2) and seven TDs. "Maybe by a little bit he's better than Stoneburner," one scout said. "He blocks a little bit. He's got some receiving ability. He does it all OK." Played high-level junior hockey growing up in Naples, Fla.
5. RANDALL TELFER, Southern California (6-3½, 250, 4.75, 4-5): Started for 3½ years as an old-fashioned style TE. "He's the best blocker of any of them," one scout said. "I like him because it's hard to find tough, blocking guys." Still nursing a Lisfranc foot injury and scouts won't see him run a 40 before the draft. Finished with 65 catches for 648 (10.0) and 12 TDs. "Good player," another scout said. "He catches the ball. Adequate athlete." Out of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
6. BLAKE BELL, Oklahoma (6-6, 252, 4.79, 5): Started eight of the 31 games that he played at QB from 2011-'13, rushing for 24 TDs as the "Belldozer" and compiling an NFL passer rating of 86.5. Reluctantly accepted move to TE in '14 and started eight of 12 games, catching 16 passes for 214 (13.4) and four TDs. "By the time the season was over you could see he was a guy with up side blocking," said one scout. "His deficiencies (early) weren't from want-to. It was positioning and leverage and hand placement." Father, Mark, played six NFL seasons as a DE. His uncle, Mike, was a standout DE from 1979-'91. "He's got an up side," another scout said. "Really a big guy, and I think he'll grow into the position." From Wichita, Kan.
OTHERS: Busta Anderson, South Carolina; Nick O'Leary, Florida State; Jesse James, Penn State; A.J. Derby, Arkansas; Nick Boyle, Delaware; James O'Shaughnessy, Illinois State; Ben Koyack, Notre Dame; Wes Saxton, South Alabama; Gerald Christian, Louisville; Geoff Swaim, Texas.
Last edited by Playoffs; 1 Day Ago at 01:19 PM.