Strong duo at LSU with different styles In speaking with a few people in NFL scouting circles, there has been an ongoing debate for the last few months about a pair of LSU underclassmen receivers: Jarvis Landry (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) and Odell Beckham Jr. (5-10, 205).
Both have laid down impressive game tapes, but they have different strengths to their games. Landry appears to be more NFL-ready at this point. "Reliable" would be the best word to describe Landry as he consistently shows the ability to deliver in the clutch. Working mainly from the slot, he is an instinctive route-runner and does a nice job of reading coverages on the fly. While he lacks elite quickness and top-end speed, Landry makes up for it with polished routes, and he transitions well out of cuts. Finally, Landry has one of the more natural sets of hands in this class and is fearless working in traffic down the middle of the field.
As for Beckham, there is no question that he has more explosive-play ability in his arsenal. While he still needs polish as a route-runner and has some occasional drops, Beckham's blend of suddenness, acceleration and top-end speed is evident on tape. He brings strong vertical capabilities outside the hashes, and he is dangerous with the ball in his hands after the catch and in the return game. The original vibe I received from league evaluators preferred Landry over Beckham. However, as scouts are just starting to get into tape from later in the season, their tune is beginning to change.
After watching coaches copy tapes of Beckham against TCU in the season opener and then study him against Alabama in November, it's clear he improved throughout the season. In particular, he was cleaner with his release against press coverage and played with more confidence both as a route-runner and pass-catcher against the Crimson Tide. It's not hard to figure out why some scouts are starting to sway toward Beckham. He is still relatively green and has more upside as a projection to the next level. Beckham has the speed explosiveness to create big plays outside the hashes and develop into a strong No. 2, ideally as an X receiver.
On the flip side, some scouts have expressed concerns about whether Landry can thrive in a No. 2 role because he doesn't have exceptional size to overcome average quickness and top-end speed, which may give him problems consistently creating separation on the outside. Landry and Beckham both have skill sets that translate well to the next level in differing roles. In fact, various teams will likely rank them differently because of various fits and schemes. However, don't be surprised if Beckham continues to gain momentum as scouts get into more late game tape and we approach the combine and pro-day phase of the process, where he is expected to test well.