Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021

Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021

Cole Paganelli
3 years ago
3 min read
Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr. in 2021

In the spring of 2019, expectations for Odell Beckham Jr. were sky-high after he was acquired by the Browns. Beckham, just 26 years old, had one of the best five-year starts to a career in NFL history, racking up over 1,000 yards in all but one season with the Giants and reeling in 44 touchdowns.

However, OBJ’s first two years in Cleveland have failed to reach that level. In 2019, Beckham managed to hit 1,000 yards, but had just four touchdowns and averaged under five receptions a game. Last year, he averaged just around three catches and 46 yards per game, scoring three times before suffering a season-ending torn ACL in Week 7.

Now entering year three with the Browns, some wonder if Beckham will ever be the same type of receiver he was in New York. Regardless, here are some expectations to have for OBJ in 2021.

Beckham hits 1,000 yards receiving again

In Beckham’s seven years in the league, there have been two seasons where he has failed to reach the thousand-mark for receiving yards. The first was 2017, where an early-season injury limited him to four games, and last year, when he only appeared in seven games. It should seem obvious then if Beckham plays a full season in 2021, a return to 1,000 yards is expected.

However, one issue is his lack of involvement in the offense when he was on the field last season. Beckham averaged just 45.6 yards per game on 3.3 catches in 2020, earning him a total of 319 receiving yards. Over the course of a 17-game season, that only puts Beckham on pace for about 775 receiving yards.

The hope is that the issues Baker Mayfield corrected in the second half of last year help his chemistry with Beckham, which for the last two years has had its series of ups and downs. But still just 28 years old and ready to prove himself, OBJ should have a more active role in the offense on a more consistent basis.

Beckham flirts with 10 touchdowns

It’s hard to believe, but Beckham hasn’t had a double-digit touchdown season since 2016, his third year in the league. And in his two years with the Browns, he has only managed to earn four and three touchdowns respectively.

But it’s not crazy to think that Beckham not only beats the totals from his previous two years but also gets close to double-digits. He had three in seven games last year, putting him on pace for around eight or nine in a 17-game season. He also still has some of the best hands in football, registering a 2.3 percent drop rate percentage in 2020.

Like with the yards, Beckham’s touchdown total might also depend on the play of Mayfield. With Mayfield’s interceptions going down drastically in the last couple of months of last season and increased familiarity with coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense, Beckham should be on the field more and have more opportunities to make plays, including in the red zone.

No more drama

Beckham is supremely talented, but his career in the NFL up to this point has been filled with some behavioral issues and maturity concerns. It’s one of the big reasons why the Giants felt comfortable dealing with the wide receiver in his prime shortly after handing him a sizable contract extension.

But now Beckham is coming off of two down years, including a torn ACL. Not to mention, he’s getting closer to 30 years old and is on a team that has shown they can succeed without him on the field. Ultimately, it will be up to the eighth-year vet to not give Cleveland any reason to move on from him at season’s end.

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