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Dorial Green-Beckham worth a gamble in NFL Draft

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The NFL combine is an exercise in athleticism - so 6ft-5in freakazoids that can run 40s in less than 4.5 seconds are always going to shine.

Dorial Green-Beckham, the 'next Calvin Johnson', was the latest draft hopeful to do his stock the world of good just by showing up this weekend.

Good genes count for a lot at this particular time in the NFL calendar, it can be the difference between millions of dollars.

NFL scouts, and thanks to NFL Network, you and me in our sweatpants at home, get carried away by the 'potential' of 20-22 years olds working out for TV.

Oily hips, happy feet, waist bender, road grader, downhill thumper - the terminology, would have you believe the Mayockisms, are no longer esoteric terms confined to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Now, here's another one for you - he looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane. Green-Beckham certainly looks the part - few combine participants can boast his unique combination of size, strength and speed.

But does he play the part?

That's the million dollar question for NFL GMs as the draft approaches.

With his combine participation in the books, his stock is predictably on the rise, along with another receiver who looked every bit the WR1 on Saturday, West Virginia's Kevin White.

Before the combine, DGB was marked as a first day talent but red flags put off many draft watchers. NFL analyst Bucky Brooks was the only one of four to put him in the first round on, number 29 to the Indianapolis Colts.

Bleacher Report's updated mock after this weekend has him up at 18 to the Kansas City Chiefs. SB Nation's Dan Kadar puts him to the San Francisco 49ers at 15. It's amazing what one work-out can do.

The comparison with Calvin Johnson, as noted by Detroit reporter Tim Twentyman, is not really on point.

Calvin Johnson combine/pro day

6ft-5in, 239 lbs, 4.35sec 40-yard dash, 42 1/2 vertical jump, 11'7' broad jump

DGB combine

6ft-5in, 237lbs, 4.49sec 40-yard dash, 33.5 vertical jump, 11'9' broad jump

But the NFL's new preference for big-bodied receivers has DGB trending in the right direction.

The NFL is a copycat league

Kelvin Benjamin put together a superb rookie season in Carolina, transforming a lethargic Panthers passing attack through sheer volume alone.

Despite his fondness for drops, his frame gives him a natural advantage that's just too juicy to pass up for Cam Newton.

In the red zone, it's an even bigger factor. Another rookie, Mike Evans, stands 6ft-5in and hauled in 12 TDs in 2014. Dez Bryant, Calvin, Demaryius, Jordy Nelson - all 6ft-2in or higher. Size, not speed, is the crucial physical ingredient to top tier success in the NFL.

Only Antonio Brown and Randall Cobb can match these guys for production and Cobb is a number two receiver in the Packers offense.

This isn't a new thing. A Rotoworld article from this time last year looked at red zone efficiency and the importance of size. It concluded that receivers 6ft-3in or taller are around 20 per cent more likely to convert a red zone target than a receiver 6ft-0in or shorter.

Weight is another indicator of red zone success, with heavier receivers 35.9 per cent more likely than the lightest receivers to score a TD on a red zone target.

At 6ft-5in and 237 lbs, DGB is almost identical in size and weight to Calvin Johnson. He's also the second tallest and heaviest at the combine, behind Georgia Tech's Darren Waller.

That allows him to do things like this…

But the red flags, of which there are several, are the reason he was toxic before the combine. He was kicked off Missouri's team after one too many off-the-field incidents.

He was accused of pushing a woman down a flight of stairs, although the charges were dropped, and twice was arrested for Marijuana-related concerns. His transfer to Oklahoma included a zero tolerance drug-testing policy.

The NFL is obviously sensitive to any mention of domestic violence after the league was found wanting in its handling of the Ray Rice case last year.

But if the NFL combine proves anything, it's that the league's obsession with measurables knows no bounds. DGB will be drafted, probably in the mid-to-late first round.

For what it's worth, he's saying all the right things.


“All the decisions I made, I wish I could take it back,” Green-Beckham said this weekend. “It happened, I was young, I made mistakes, I understand that. I just want to focus on one thing, and look forward to just this draft and focus on being the best I can be.”

The former number one high school recruit has made poor decisions in his past, but a year away from football may have refocussed the mind.

After he was denied a hardship waiver to play in 2014, little was heard from him. He's knuckled down and got himself ready for the combine, kept himself in shape and out of trouble. That's a positive sign.

Where will he land?

San Francisco and Kansas City are two obvious contenders in the top 20, while the Cleveland Browns have two picks in the first 19. With Josh Gordon missing 2015, whoever is quarterbacking Cleveland will need more targets.

But would the Browns really go from Gordon to another high-profile receiver with questionable off-the-field credentials? Probably not, and Gordon's case could even hurt Green-Beckham's stock with other teams, let alone Cleveland.

"I think the consistent problems for [Cleveland Browns wide receiver] Josh Gordon are going to leak over and hurt his draft stock," an anonymous NFC director of personnel told's Lance Zierlein.

Green-Beckham's game is so raw, the red flags so obvious, but the talent so undeniable, that he becomes the classic boom or bust pick.

He's all potential, putting up just one stellar college season - his sophomore year at Missouri saw him catch 59 passes for 883 yards and 12 TDs.

But potential is what the NFL draft is all about, especially when the prospect is the perfect blend of athleticism, size and skill. DGB is unique in this draft, in a position of increasing importance.

Draft stock

Between now and draft day his stock will float up and down, but whoever drafts Green-Beckham now knows exactly what they're getting themselves into. The risks are there, but they were with countless others - Dez, Randy Moss, etc - and the possible rewards are huge.

Maybe he's Josh Gordon, maybe not, but if you're a team in need of a receiver upgrade sitting in the second half of the first round, DGB is worth the gamble.

Is he worth the risk? Do you want your team to draft DGB?

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