Odell Beckham Jr. claims that 2020 is his year – is he onto something?
Guess who’s back…
“I would honestly say this is probably going to be one of my best seasons. Bigger, stronger, faster – this is my time.”
OBJ spent the first five years of his career with the New York Giants, where he quickly became known for his ability to make jaw-dropping catches.
Four years ago today, @obj made this ridiculous catch.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 23, 2018
From 2015 to 2016, Beckham Jr. emerged as one of the game’s best receivers.
In 15 games during the 2015 season, he caught 96 balls and set career-highs in receiving yards (1,450) and touchdowns (13). In 2016, he followed it up with a career-high 101 receptions, alongside 1,367 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games.
By his third season, he became the fastest player in NFL history to hit 200 career receptions and 4,000 career receiving yards.
The only player in NFL history with 1,000+ receiving yards & multiple TD passes in a single season.
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 11, 2019
However, the injuries began to mount up during the 2017 season. Beckham battled an ankle sprain at the beginning of the season, and in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers, he suffered a fractured ankle.
After only four games, ankle surgery placed him on injured reserve for the remainder of the year.
Still, prior to the 2018 season, OBJ got paid.
Breaking: Odell Beckham Jr. has agreed to a 5-year, $95 million contract with $65 million guaranteed, making him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL, a source told @JosinaAnderson. pic.twitter.com/xgVF5WCwC6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 27, 2018
Beckham got off to a strong start in the 2018 season, but a quad injury sidelined Beckham for the final four games of the season. Still, in only 12 games, he finished with 77 receptions, 1,052 yards, 6 receiving touchdowns and 2 passing touchdowns.
.@OBJ had himself a DAY:
— NFL (@NFL) October 8, 2018
However, at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, Beckham was traded to Cleveland.
In 2019, OBJ finished with a respectable 74 catches for 1,035 yards and 4 touchdowns. Still, his 2019 numbers with the Browns were all career-lows, outside of 2017.
Cleveland went 6-10, as Odell and Baker Mayfield struggled to find chemistry, connecting on a little more than half of their targets – 55.6 percent to be exact.
Beckham played all 16 games for Cleveland, but fought through quite a few injuries, some that began plaguing him before the season began.
OBJ elaborated in his YouTube video released on Monday:
“So last year I was training in June and July, and I was kind of just feeling stuff around the groin area, abs and stuff like that. My third week of training camp, I tear a little piece of my ab. Before the season, I kind of had the hernia thing going on. Sports hernia surgery is what they call it. End up at the end of the season, torn abductor, torn rectus abdominis on the right.”
Beckham underwent surgery in late January to fix the hip and groin injury that he said impacted his play throughout the year.
Now, after spending the offseason rehabbing, OBJ claims that nothing will stop him from being at his best in 2020.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) May 4, 2020
Is 2020 actually destined to be OBJ’s year? There are differing opinions.
Shannon Sharpe says yes, because when he plays fully healthy, OBJ’s talent is undeniable.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there was something nagging Odell last year … He had surgery so obviously that was part of the problem and some of the reason why some of his production dropped off … Odell can still be great. He’s still technically sound, he’s tremendous right after the catch, he has tremendous hands.”
"Odell has set a standard for himself: he's a damn good receiver and that's the expectation that people have every time he steps on the field. And if not he's going to get criticized. I believe OBJ was hurt, but nobody cares because he was out there."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 5, 2020
Stephen A. Smith agrees, and believes Cleveland will see a much-improved version of Odell in 2020 based on his need to prove that he can still be one of the best in the game.
“If there’s any dissipation in numbers or along the same lines, I don’t believe it’s going to be because of anything inefficient about Odell Beckham Jr. If he says that he’s going to come back faster and bigger and stronger I believe that … because the things he can control, I think will be put on full display and I believe him.”
Max Kellerman, however, is not so easily convinced, and he doesn’t see Odell reaching the same level of productivity that he reached during his 2016 campaign for the Giants.
“I say the minimum standard is his team’s gotta win double digits. He’s gotta put up at least 1,400 [receiving yards] and double-digit touchdowns to be in the running as the best season of his career. The standard is incredibly high – he hasn’t done that in several years. He’s capable of it, but until I see it again, I’m not going to go out there and predict a season like that.”
Skip Bayless sided with Kellerman and thinks that Odell just doesn’t have the ability to hit those benchmark numbers in 2020, partially due to Cleveland’s depth on offense.
“He’s not going to lead this team in touches or catches or productivity – it’s just not there. This is a different football team than it was last year. It was Odell or almost bust last year. Now it looks like they are going in a whole different direction … brave new world for Odell Beckham Jr.”
"Odell has got a lot of re-proving to do. And I don't know if Odell's ego is going to take the beating of becoming the 3rd or 4th option to Chubb, the tight ends and Jarvis. He's not going to lead this team in touches, catches or productivity." — @RealSkipBayless pic.twitter.com/1fF9Lw7K3x
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) May 5, 2020
The Cleveland Browns made moves in the offseason to bolster their offense. They added offensive tackle Jack Conklin to help protect quarterback Baker Mayfield, as well as 2-time Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper, who is coming off his best NFL season, recording 75 catches for 787 yards and 6 touchdowns in Atlanta last season.
Will Odell see the ball enough to recreate this magic in 2020?
The crystal ball is still cloudy.
But NFL fans across the nation would sure love to see it.