“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft
The Fall From Greatness
Let’s go back in time; the date is January 1st, 2014 and Missouri has just beaten Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, finishing the season 5th according to both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. In that game, Dorial Green-Beckham, then a true sophomore, recorded a modest 4 catches for 53 yards, capping a season in which he totaled 59 receptions, 883 yards, and a whopping 12 touchdowns. The then 6’5″, 225 pound receiver looked like a surefire first round draft pick, drawing comparisons to Calvin Johnson. All was great in DGB’s world.
Then disaster struck. On January 10th, just 9 days later, Green-Beckham was arrested on a marijuana charge, his second as a part of the Missouri program. An additional incident in which he allegedly forced open a woman’s apartment and pushed her down some stairs locked in the budding star’s fate, and on April 11th, he was dismissed from the team. Green-Beckham transferred to Oklahoma, but was required to sit out the 2014 college football season due to the NCAA transfer rules. Just when it seemed like it was getting started, what was once a promising young college career was put on hold.
Fast forward to now, and Green-Beckham still has a chance to be a first round NFL Draft pick (Play the Draft gives him an FRX value of 37.4) after running a 4.49 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine at 6’5″ and 237 pounds. However, it would seem that most issues with him as a prospect deal with the unknown: his character, that he didn’t play a single down of football in the 2014 college season, etc. And as the above quote describes, this unknown leads to fear, and, to me, leads to value.
RotoViz’s Matthew Freedman has already written a wonderful piece about the merits of DGB as a prospect, and I highly recommend reading it before you move on. Freedman’s points are that he compares favorably to other elite prospects to come out of the SEC, even with only 2 years of production on record, and that his size and athleticism are incredible. I would like to build off of that by discussing how the public is completely disregarding plain-to-see information in favor of the unknown as to whether or not he would have had a quality 2014 campaign had he played. Doesn’t that seem a little crazy? Right now people are focusing on DGB’s measurables at the Combine and off field issues, but IGNORING the fact that he put up incredible production (particularly in the touchdown department) at a young age in college football’s most competitive conference. Is a year off from football really that big of a deal?
The answer to that question is yes, a year away from football would be a terrible detriment to any prospects’ hope to find success. The only problem as it applies here is that Green-Beckham DID NOT MISS A YEAR OF FOOTBALL. That’s right, just because you didn’t see him on the field on Saturdays doesn’t mean he was hanging out on the couch drinking beer. He was still a part of one of college football’s best programs, and supposedly killed it at practices. As someone who coaches football, I can tell you that the growth a player sees happens primarily in the off-season and at practice. What he does in games is just the product of all of that hard work. So if DGB has been part of a top D1 weight training and conditioning program all year, and has practiced with the team all year, and even dominated those practices, I don’t really see that much reason for worry.
And of course, the reason all of this matters is for this year’s rookie drafts. According to Dynasty League Football, Green-Beckham’s current rookie ADP is 6th. My Fantasy League ADP has him 5th. I have him ranked as my second receiver and third player overall right now, so there is plenty of value to be had here.
Dorial Green-Beckham is an immensely talented football player that clearly ran himself into trouble while at Missouri. Those character concerns are certainly real, but people right now are over-blowing his lack of college football action as a junior. Being a part of Oklahoma’s team tells me there is no reason to think he has not developed as a player. This is a clear arbitrage opportunity for you to take advantage of in fantasy drafts.
Featured Image Source: news.missouri.edu