In his first two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Odell Beckham Jr has been unable to showcase his best self on the field due to injuries. In 2019, the former New York Giant played through the entire season with a sports hernia, something that severely hampered his explosiveness. Despite recording over 1,000 receiving yards on the year, Beckham was never truly himself. While Beckham showed flashes of brilliance in the beginning of the 2020 season, he unfortunately tore his ACL on October 25 in Cincinnati; ending his season. While it can be argued that the biggest key for Odell Beckham going forward is good health, he still has proven to be a key cog in the Browns offense when healthy.
One glaring weakness of Cleveland’s offense that reared its ugly head in the playoff loss in Kansas City was the lacking of top end speed in the receiving corps. While Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones have all proven to be extremely sure handed, they lack game changing speed. Kansas City was able to take advantage of this by playing tight man to man coverage defensively in the secondary, while at the same time sending blitzes to disrupt both Baker Mayfield and the running game. Beckham’s presence alone needs to be accounted for by opposing defenses, and Kansas City would not have had as easy of a time playing man coverage versus Beckham all afternoon long.
Beckham also showed the ability to excel given the chance to carry the ball in space this past season on called reverse plays. The wideout burned the Dallas Cowboys twice on reverses for big plays, including a 50 yard touchdown run in what was without question his most impactful game as a Cleveland Brown. Beckham has also shown the ability to be able to throw an accurate pass when given the ball behind the line of scrimmage. This makes Beckham even more dangerous when given the ball on a backwards pass/pitch.
After the Browns bye week, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski began heavily focusing on schemes and concepts that Mayfield felt most comfortable with. The results were staggering, as the Browns quarterback threw just two interceptions after week 7, the game in which Beckham got injured. As a result of these numbers some pundits believe the Browns would be smart to shop the star wideout, as Mayfield played his best football without him. Despite the noise, the Browns should look to incorporate Beckham into what they were doing during their late season run, as his speed and playmaking abilities need to accounted for at all times by opposing defenses.
Circling back to the Browns’ playoff loss in Kansas City, Cleveland’s offense had a hard time getting started against the Chiefs’ stingy man coverage defense. Not only were receivers having a hard time creating separation from defenders, but Cleveland’s running game was also struggling getting off the ground early on in the contest. Having a player like Odell Beckham Jr healthy would not only help an improving passing attack, but the running game would benefit as well as opposing safeties need to be aware of Beckham’s presence and location on the field. While Cleveland could very well indeed entertain offers for the former all pro, it should take an overwhelming package for the Browns to even consider moving Beckham Jr.