Pro Football Focus has picked a bounce-back player for each of the NFL’s 32 teams.
The website’s senior college analyst Anthony Treash partnered with ESPN+ for the story and named wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. as the Cleveland Browns’ candidate to bounce back in 2020.
Here’s what Treash wrote:
“What went wrong: Beckham’s first year in Cleveland couldn’t have gone much worse. He wasn’t fully healthy, and the connection with quarterback Baker Mayfield just wasn’t there. After grading above 88.0 in four of the first five years of his career, Beckham slipped to a career-low grade in 2019 to go with career lows in passer rating when targeted (70.5) and yards per route run (1.81). In addition, he also saw a total of 16 QB-fault incompletions on deep passes, four more than any other wideout last year. If Beckham returns to 100% and Mayfield can reach the same heights he did as a rookie in 2018, a bounce-back year is likely.”
ESPN reporter Jake Trotter wrote the following about Beckham:
“Outlook for 2020: OBJ was hampered by a sports hernia injury all season and struggled to consistently get targets in Freddie Kitchens’ offense. Now, Beckham is finally healthy again after undergoing offseason surgery. And though the Browns figure to be a running team under new coach Kevin Stefanski, he should get plenty of favorable opportunities to make big plays downfield, especially on play-action passes.”
In 2019, Beckham also had career lows in receiving yards per game (64.7) and catch percentage (55.6%).
However, Beckham did play in all 16 games last season, in which the Browns finished with a 6-10 record.
Beckham, 27, has had quite the offseason.
On Friday, Drake and Lil Durk’s released their new music video “Laugh Now Cry Later,” in which Beckham makes a cameo appearance along with Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and free-agent running back Marshawn Lynch.
OBJ has decided to play the 2020 season despite expressing his concerns earlier this offseason about the league’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Beckham’s comments to the Wall Street Journal magazine took place before the NFL-NFLPA agreement on July 24, which included increased COVID-19 precautions.
The Browns had five players opt out of the 2020 season: guard Drew Forbes, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, guard Colby Gossett, offensive tackle Drake Dorbeck, and guard Malcolm Pridgeon.
Beckham also participated in a roundtable discussion in July with New England Patriots Cam Newton, Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley and former NFL wide receiver Victor Cruz to discuss the pandemic and the response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’re in a place where people are really being affected, [the] economy is being affected, people are dying, numbers are spiking — the s**t is real,” Beckham said. “Yet they’re trying to make football happen. With everything going on, what does that say about our country, that [football] is that important?”
Before undergoing core muscle surgery, Beckham also displayed strange behavior after LSU’s win over Clemson in the College Football Playoff title game.
Beckham is under contract through the 2023 season after signing a five-year, $90 million contract with the Giants in 2018.
In 2020, Beckham will try to help the Browns make their first playoff appearance since the 2002 season.