From the moment the Giants took him with the 12th pick of this year’s NFL draft, Odell Beckham Jr. knew he was destined to play a key role in their offensive machine.
“I was expecting when I got here to come in and play immediately,” he said Wednesday. “And me as a competitor, I know that’s always the plan. I don’t want to sit on the bench.”
He just didn’t expect it all to happen like this. On Wednesday, the Giants’ prized first-round pick at receiver was officially elevated to the first team, replacing his mentor, the injured Victor Cruz, as the starter opposite Rueben Randle.
And Beckham understands that more will be expected of him now. Just three weeks ago, he was coming off a severe hamstring injury, just learning the system. But now, he says, he understands his role in the offense. On Sunday in Dallas, he won’t be Cruz, he said, but he can be a key contributor.
“I definitely feel more comfortable with where I’m at now, as far as the playbook and getting my body underneath me,” he said. “But it’s tough to fulfill that role he (Cruz) played. Not just on the field but off the field, his presence. It’s one of those things as sad as it is, it’s the nature of the game. And we’ve got to move forward.”
For Beckham, that has meant swiftly expanding his responsibilities. Two games into his NFL career, he’s played exclusively on the outside, but now, he may find himself shifting inside to the slot on some plays, taking on the role that Cruz made so dangerous for the last few seasons.
“I’m not fully moved in there, but we’ll have a few plays where I’ll be inside,” he said. “Kind of switch things up.”
The Giants have several options at slot receiver, including journeyman Preston Parker, and possibly even new acquisition Kevin Ogletree. But Beckham, if he can learn the position, is the most dangerous option.
He’s barely practiced in the slot since becoming a Giant, he told The News, but he believes he can grow into that role swiftly.
“At the end of the day, it’s football,” he said.
And right now is Beckham’s time to swiftly mature into a top receiving threat.
“We all have to step up,” he said. “I just want to get back out there and enjoy the game we all love, for Vic, and get the win.”
By Ebenezer Samuel | NYDailynews.com | October 15, 2014