Hear Me Out: Odell Beckham Jr. is the Best Player in the NFL
By Peter Santo
We all know the NFL is a quarterback league, you can’t win without a top-tier quarterback in today’s game, just ask the Cleveland Browns. The last ten Super Bowl winning quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, and Peyton Manning. All competent quarterbacks.
However a quarterback’s success is often determined by his weapons, today’s crop of top receivers is largely better than it has ever been. However there’s one talent that stands above the rest, Odell Beckham Jr.
Ever since the moment he first stepped on an NFL field as a rookie, he has been the best player in the league. In just 38 games, Beckham has 252 catches, 3,670 yards and 33 touchdowns. That is simply unheard of. He caught 91 balls for over 1300 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games as a rookie in 2014.
I would consider Julio Jones and Antonio Brown to be the second and third best receivers in the league (in no particular order). Jones is having an excellent season this year and has eclipsed 1500 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Brown meanwhile is also coming off back to back 1500 yard seasons and had 1,499 receiving yards in 2013.
On paper the stat comparisons between Jones, Brown, and Beckham are largely comparable, however when you dig a bit deeper into the teams they play for, and how other teams gameplan against them, you see a much larger discrepancy.
The Steelers defense is mediocre at best, but they have weapons all over the field on offense. Ben Roethlisberger is a future Hall of Famer and is still one of the best quarterbacks in football at age 34. Former Auburn receiver Sammie Coates has proven to be a legitimate number two receiver this season, and is a threat to go deep on any play. And LeVeon Bell has been a monster in the backfield since he came out of Michigan State.
The Atlanta Falcons’ offense more closely resembles that of the New York Giants, but there are still weapons around Julio Jones. Matt Ryan may struggle in big games, and he may not be the most flashy QB, but you know exactly what you are going to get from Matt Ryan. He’s a low ceiling, high floor type guy, and is a top ten quarterback in the NFL.
Unlike the Giants, the Falcons have talent on defense, Vic Beasley has taken a step forward in his second season out of Clemson and Desmond Trufant has been excellent in coverage. Meanwhile Devonta Freeman rushed for over 1000 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
When you gameplan to face the New York Giants, you have one job, stop number 13. That has been the case since the day Odell first stepped on the field, and yet the Giants are 8-3. Eli Manning is likely headed to the Hall of Fame thanks to his two Super Bowl victories, but those were thanks to historically good defenses and answered prayers by David Tyree and Mario Manningham.
Apart from two big games against the Patriots, Eli Manning is nothing more than an average NFL quarterback. Sterling Shephard has started to emerge as a number two wideout, but I need to see more from him. Landon Collins has been excellent on defense, but he plays safety, not exactly a game changing position. To make matters worse, the Giants have no running game.
Does anyone think the Giants are actually any good? I certainly don’t think so. The Giants are 8-3 thanks to the best player in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr.