Wide receivers aren’t supposed to be 6’6″, 237 lbs and be able to run a 4.49 forty. Physical specimens with those measurables also aren’t supposed to be really good at football. Coming out of high school, Dorial Green-Beckham was the exception to the rule, committing to the University of Missouri as the number one overall high school recruit, and being dubbed the next Randy Moss by many. The hype for Dorial Green-Beckham has been out of control for most of his football career. Being drafted by the Tennessee Titans and having an opportunity to start right away hasn’t tempered the hype. But are the expectations of Tennessee Titans fans too high for Dorial Green-Beckham?
“DGB” was the number one overall high school recruit in 2012, according to rivals.com. Other number one recruits include Terrelle Pryor, Jimmy Clausen, Bryce Brown, Percy Harvin, and others. These are players that were expected to be the best football players in the nation within a couple of years. More times than not these players fail to meet the hype. It’s hard to blame high school seniors for falling short in becoming gridiron legends, and a lot of the time the hype itself is what cripples them. All four of those players mentioned are in the NFL right now, but haven’t been able to consistently produce for any one team.
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While that may be concerning in regards to DGB, the main concern that was brought up throughout the draft season was about his character. In my opinion, those character concerns were a little bit overblown. He was arrested twice on marijuana charges, something that we’ve seen Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon be suspended for indefinitely, while several states have already completely legalized marijuana use. Those two arrests, along with an incident where he allegedly pushed a woman down a flight of stairs (something he wasn’t even charged for), caused him to be dismissed from the University of Missouri football team. He transferred to the University of Oklahoma, where he kept his nose clean but wasn’t able to play a snap because of a transfer restriction.
That’s all in the past now as he begins a new chapter with the Tennessee Titans. His talent was too much to pass up in the top half of the second round, especially for a team whose most consistent receiver of the past decade has been Nate Washington. We’ve seen the likes of Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams, Lavelle Hawkins and Kenny Britt come and go, while Justin Hunter has yet to show much of anything.
The Tennessee Titans receiving corps might be crowded, but there isn’t a whole lot of talent that will hold Dorial Green-Beckham back if he begins to showcase it. Kendall Wright is locked in as a starting receiver and apparently so is Harry Douglas as the slot receiver (I don’t know why). Justin Hunter is Green-Beckham’s main competition. If we were in this position at the same time last year, I would’ve figured that Hunter would take it from him with relative ease. But Hunter’s 2014 season brought up way more questions than it answered. Whether DGB can develop quicker than Hunter remains to be seen, though it seems like he will be able to.
That said, I’ve seen a lot of high expectations for DGB to immediately be the missing piece in the Tennessee Titans wide receiver puzzle. I think we need to be more realistic about what he can bring to our team in 2015. Even when he was playing at Missouri, he was a little rough around the edges. The talent and measurables were undeniable, but he wasn’t exactly Calvin Johnson-esque in college. Raw receivers coming out of college usually don’t contribute much in their rookie years. Green-Beckham also hasn’t played in a live football game since 2013, so we’d be wise to temper our expectations. Still, it’s hard to temper expectations for a player with such immense potential. It also doesn’t help that we haven’t had a truly dominant receiver since the very few games that a healthy Kenny Britt blessed us with.
Doral Green-Beckham is in a good position to buck the trend of top recruits who haven’t panned out in the NFL. His talent and his opportunity make for an interesting case study, and though it may take more than a year for the results to shine through, I believe the Tennessee Titans will have their number one receiver before long. As for now, we can expect some growing pains, at least in 2015.