When the Tennessee Titans selected Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round of this year’s draft, fans salivated over the mammoth rookie. And why wouldn’t they? He’s 6’5 and can run a 40 in under four and a half seconds.
I repeat, the kid is 6’5 and can….ok…I digress.
With the league-wide recent success of rookie wide receivers, and the Titans’ recent woes at the position, it only makes sense to name DGB the day one starter…a la Marcus Mariota….right?
Realistically speaking, no. And the Titans have valid reasons for bringing him along slowly.
Dorial Green-Beckham is indeed an athletic freak of nature, but he hasn’t played at game speed since the Cotton Bowl…the 2014 Cotton Bowl. A messy release from Missouri, followed by an NCAA transfer waiver denial, led to DGB missing all of last season. And to make things worse, he missed the majority of OTA’s this spring because of a nagging hamstring injury.
Prior to training camp, head coach Ken Whisenhunt went on record. He stated that Green-Beckham needed to shed some pounds. After a few days of practice, coach seems to be right. DGB is noticeably wearing down toward the end of each practice…and it’s affecting his play. At 240 lbs, he’s not physically ready to handle the first team reps.
For Green-Beckham to start opposite Kendall Wright week one in Tampa, he would first have to beat out a couple of veterans with 1,000 yard seasons under their belt. Hakeem Nicks has looked extremely impressive so far in camp. Harry Douglas hasn’t looked too shabby either. DGB has been plagued so far by up and down play. Some of it is simply rookie woes. Some of it is the football shape that we just discussed.
Change in philosophy:
If Tennessee drafted DGB last year, then he would have stood a better chance of putting up eye-popping rookie numbers. Last year the Titans dropped back to pass on just about every down, regardless of who was under center. This year’s offense will be the opposite, a balanced ball control offense designed to protect rookie qb Marcus Mariota.
Tight end Delanie Walker saw over 100 targets last season, and will figure to see close to that again this year. Receiver Kendall Wright will get his targets, and tight end Anthony Fasano has already proven to have good chemistry with Mariota in the passing game. And that’s not even counting Nicks, Douglas, or the running backs. There’s only one ball, only so many opportunities left for the rookie.
There is one area where fans should expect Green-Beckham to make an immediate impact, and that’s the endzone. A player with his height, athleticism, and leaping ability makes for a redzone force to be reckoned with. Just lob it up to the corner of the endzone and let him go get it. He can also be effective on deep ball plays, which will likely be few and far between early on. Expect Wright and Walker to dominate the action between the 20’s, while DGB closes near the goal line.
30-35 catches, 350-400 yards, 8-10 tds (6 redzone).