Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. are both looking for new deals this off-season.
Two of the NFL’s best lobbying for new contracts left me thinking; If you had to pick one of these receivers to build your wide receiver corps around, who would you go with? Neither can touch Antonio Brown as WR1, but there’s certainly an interesting discussion to be had about who is #2. Both are prolific athletes, incredibly fast, and have some of the best hands that the game has ever seen. Based on the eye test, it definitely is not an easy choice to make. But if you look deeper, the right answer (to me) is Odell Beckham Jr. Let me explain.
To start, these are two completely different players, so I guess you could say this is a preference thing. Julio Jones is a 6’3″, box you out in mid-air kind of guy. His 4.39 40-yard dash time is also terrifying for his size. Having someone on the outside with that combination of height and speed is lethal. Oh, and he had his way with the Patriots’ defensive backs in the Super Bowl, which is something that never goes unnoticed by me.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a different story. OBJ is 5’11”, a fantastic route runner, and has the ability to burn almost any defender with that 4.34 40-time. He also did this:
But that’s besides the point. Outside of making arguably the greatest catch in NFL history, the numbers through Jones and Beckham’s first four seasons stack slightly in OBJ’s favor:
In two less games, Odell managed to reel in 35 more balls, 12 more touchdowns, and gain 94 more yards than Julio. Some would say a lot of that has to do with who is playing quarterback, if the team is winning or not, etc. But Matt Ryan was a FAR better QB than Eli Manning was during those stretches of time, and the Falcons actually had a winning record, unlike the Giants:
Eli was, and still is, a pud. When the Giants drafted Odell, Manning had been far removed from his days of crushing the hearts of Patriots fans in Super Bowls. And he may not have been at MVP level quite yet, but Matt Ryan was no slouch at the beginning of his career. Just look at the numbers.
So Julio played in more games and had a better quarterback, but somehow couldn’t out-perform OBJ. Why is that? Simple, Beckham is just better.
Both guys have their injury problems, so that cancels itself out. Odell is known for his uncontrollable temper, but I think that could be a valuable part of his game if you can channel that energy properly. The guy is a competitor at the highest level. If you had to start your career with washed up Eli Manning, you’d probably be kicking nets and running up and down the sidelines too. Put him in a winning situation, I’m sure we wouldn’t have seen a lot of that. I value a desire to win very highly, and Odell definitely has that. He kind of reminds me of Tom Brady in that regard, someone I’ve never seen anybody bash for his high-level of competitiveness.
Odell’s one playoff performance also wasn’t fantastic, I know this. He logged just 4 receptions for 28 yards, but I don’t put that entirely on him. Again, Eli Manning sucked, and the Packers were a way better team than New York that year. But give him the post-season chances that Julio has been given throughout his career and I’m sure he’d out-perform him there too.
For me, this was an easy decision to make. I think OBJ could finish his career (if health permits) as one of the best to ever play the game. He’s just too talented. Julio will be up there too, but if I’m picking between these two as my WR1, I have to go with Odell. I’m sure this will piss some people off, so let me know what you think in the comments and on Twitter. @ me. Please.
-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)