The Giants stayed true to their draft board and selected the guy they wanted all along in wideout Odell Beckham Jr. with the No. 12 pick of the NFL Draft.
Beckham, a 2013 All-American from LSU, is a versatile wideout who scouts deemed pro ready and a threat at multiple positions — whether it’s the slot receiver, out wide or in the return game.
General manager Jerry Reese tried to temper enthusiasm and hyperbole for Beckham, calling him “almost pro ready,” but acknowledged the wideout was “too much of a value and a need for us.”
The Giants lost Hakeem Nicks via free agency to the Colts and have only added retread Marion Manningham to the mix this offseason, so Beckham will likely get an immediate shot to start alongside Victor Cruz.
“This guy’s a weapon. Eli [Manning] needs a weapon on the outside,” said Reese. “Odell is a dynamic outside receiver, a dynamic punt returner and a dynamic kick returner.”
That final quality is what likely bumped Beckham up the Giants’ draft board as they had plenty to choose from on their wish list. Many draft analysts had penciled in offensive tackles Taylor Lewan of Michigan or Zack Martin of Notre Dame. Lewan went to the Titans at No. 11, while Martin was bypassed in favor of the wideout who won the 2013 Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile player in the nation.
“This guy is a lump-in-your-throat kind of kick and punt returner,” said Reese. “If he gets some blocks, he can go.”
Beckham said he’ll play whatever role is asked of him and is just “blessed” to have fallen to Big Blue.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better. It’s just a perfect situation,” said Beckham. “I definitely think I can come in, and if I get the opportunity to play, I can bring a lot of things.”
The New Orleans product added he’s thrilled to have been snagged by the Giants because he not only gets to catch passes from a fellow New Orleanian in Manning, but he’ll learn under the tutelage of former LSU teammate wideout Rueben Randle.
“He taught me the ropes when I came into LSU and now I’m back with him again,” said Beckham, who called Randle his big brother. “It’s pretty incredible.”
What’s also incredible is that Beckham and Manning not only share a hometown, but actually share the same high school. Beckham said he would pass by Manning’s football jersey at Isidore Newman High School every day and be inspired by it.
Now, he gets to try and impress the man he long inspired to be like.
Head coach Tom Coughlin said he’s confident Beckham will impress Manning and the rest of the veteran-laden team with his work ethic and football skills.
“I think he’ll be on the same page with the quarterback right away,” said Coughlin. “I think for a young man of Odell’s skill and his level of intelligence, that he will pick this up relatively quickly.”
Big Blue notes ...
»The stats on the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Beckham are impressive. He tallied 59 receptions for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns, while also boasting a 26.4 kickoff return yards average.
»Gil Brandt, one of the preeminent scouts and talent evaluators over the last 50 years, gushed over Beckham: “This guy is a great player. He’ll be an All-Pro [and] who may be the best wide receiver in this draft.”
»Beckham’s new teammate, fullback Henry Hynoski, tweeted: “Outstanding! Great to get such an offensive weapon. He will do great for us and be a tremendous playmaker!”
»Contrary to many of the draft gurus, Beckham was actually rated higher than Martin on the Giants’ board. The real treasure for Big Blue was Lewan, but once he went off the board, there was little argument Beckham was their guy.
»Only two Isidore Newman wide receivers have ever had 1,000 or more receiving yards in a season, Beckham and Cooper Manning — the oldest of the Manning brothers.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.