Yesterday the Eagles created some waves (albeit small ones) in the NFL community by trading backup G/T Dennis Kelly to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for second year wide out Dorial Green-Beckham. While the trade is a small one, it helps address arguably the biggest issue on the Eagles roster, the lack of talent at wide out. Except for Jordan Matthews, the Eagles have a concerning lack of talent and play making ability, a far cry from a few years ago when DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant made up a scary talented core capable of spreading the field, making play, and wrecking havoc on opposing secondary’s. The move to acquire Green-Beckham is a low risk-high reward trade the the Eagles hope will provide a spark to the receiver core.
A cursory look at Greene-Beckham would show that he fits the bill of what teams want in a wide receiver. Standing at 6 ft 5 in and 237 lbs, but still running a 4.49 40-yd dash, Beckham offers size, speed, and a large catch radius. He’s stride is enormous and he runs with an ease that isn’t seen often. His ability to turn on a “second gear” when he wants allows him to leave even some of the fastest corners in the dust. His body control, large/soft hands, size, and vision gives him a catch radius most wide receiver coaches would drool over. He averaged 17.1 yards-per-catch led rookies, and he paired that with 4 touchdowns. On the outside, Green-Beckham is a QB’s dream. Large, physical, and strong, trading a backup T/G for a player with huge on field potential was a great idea, and a great trade by Howie.
Unfortunately, cursory looks don’t usually paint a full picture, and there’s a lot more the Green-Beckham than meets the eye. First off, he’s got some serious off the field concerns. Despite being the number one overall recruit coming out of college and committing to the University of Missouri, Green-Beckham was arrested on marijuana charges in 2012. A little less than 2 years later, he was arrested again on similar charges, but had them dropped following an investigation. The tipping point however came when he allegedly forced open an apartment door and then pushed a woman down some stairs. He was released from the team in early 2014. What’s more, he’s not a perfect player on the field. He was listed lower on the depth chart than a 5th round pick, apparently struggled to learn the play book, and came in out of shape to start the season. On the field, he can struggle to free himself from press coverage, and his route running is often sloppy. Against the zone, his biggest problem is lack of ability to find open space. He also need to work on foot awareness.
If Dorial Green-Beckham can improve on some small issues, he’s a highlight reel waiting to happen. However, he’s got a long way to go before that happens. The Eagles are hoping that working with Jordan Matthews (who’s got a work ethic second to almost none) and the leadership of past players like Doug Pederson and Brian Dawkins can help DGB meet his potential, rejuvenate the Eagles receiving core, and give Wentz another weapon.