Odell Beckham Jr. is arguably the second-best wide receiver prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft behind Clemson Tigers product Sammy Watkins, as the OBJ vs. Mike Evans argument is one of the most interesting ones to have during pre-draft discussions. Evans will likely be selected before Beckham Jr., but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could very well be the deciding factor in this battle. They recently traded Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills for a sixth-round pick, so they are clearly in the market for a top wide receiver. Watkins is the dream pick, but it’s more likely that Jason Licht and Lovie Smith will be choosing between Beckham Jr. and Evans at No. 7. Evans is very similar to Vincent Jackson and the Bucs might want the bigger wideout, or they could be more enticed by Beckham’s playmaking and ability to work out of the slot.
The NFL Network’s Gil Brandt reports that two AFC East rivals picking behind the Buccaneers will work out Odell Beckham Jr., as the LSU Tigers will be hosted by the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
If Beckham Jr. is somehow available at pick No. 18, then I can’t see the Jets passing up on a wide receiver of his caliber. They have a couple of other needs, but wide receiver is still their biggest. Eric Decker was a crucial, big-name signing for the Jets early in the free-agent period, but they still need another talented wideout on their roster to help Geno Smith out. Decker and OBJ would form an incredibly gifted duo, and then they have guys like Jeremy Kerley and Jeff Cumberland who can supplement them by moving the chains. The Jets will likely take a guy like Marqise Lee in the first, but OBJ would almost have to be the pick if he’s still there.
It’s more likely that OBJ will be picked before 18, and the Buffalo Bills are a logical landing spot even after trading for Williams. Robert Woods is a solid second-year pro and Stevie Johnson is a talented WR1, but there’s actually a chance Johnson could get cut. While I don’t think it will happen, Johnson has a pretty bloated salary, and he struggled with nagging injuries last season. He’s still a productive receiver, but there are questions regarding his ability to be counted on as a true No. 1 guy; he’s certainly being paid like a true No. 1 receiver. Beckham Jr. is a possible option for the Bills with the ninth pick, even though most people believe the Bills will go for star tight end Eric Ebron. While a top TE duo of Ebron and Scott Chandler would help the Bills offense quite a bit (with Johnson on the roster, they have more of a need for a TE), OBJ is also a better player than Ebron. He’s also a matchup nightmare, and what puts him over the top are his excellent hands which aren’t common for a player with his speed, agility, and ball skills.