Optimus Prime Surfaces in the SEC: Dorial Green-Beckham
August 2, 2012 § 1 Comment
by Kevin Harrington
Missouri’s Dorial Green-Beckham may be known as “DGB” for now, but considering the mass overflow of today’s athletes referred to solely by their initials, I think it’s time for a higher standard. What happened to creativity? Athlete nicknames have taken a sharp turn for the worse over the years. Even the mass public (I blame you, ESPN) converted Adrian “All Day” Peterson’s identity to the simple “AP” due to the fact that nobody could comprehend that he was being referred to as “AD,” not his initials. Furthermore, may I remind DGB that he is only one letter away from sharing the “DHB” moniker of current Oakland Raider and NFL draft bust Darrius Heyward-Bey, so allow me to suggest a different route. I would like to be on record as the first person to claim two things – the first being that his new nickname from this point forth should be Optimus Prime. Anyone with any football knowledge whatsoever knows exactly what I am implying through this statement.
After breaking the national career record for receiving yards and touchdowns at Hillcrest High School, Dorial Green-Beckham announced that he would play for his home state Missouri Tigers as the team makes the transition from Big-12 to SEC. I believe that the number one overall recruit of this year’s freshman class is capable of making an immediate impact in the conference, similar to the likes of Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Alshon Jeffrey. Yet while he stands at an imposing 6’6” and 225 pounds, the nineteen year-old Green-Beckham is already taller and weighs more than each of the three current NFL receivers. On top of his physical presence, only the aforementioned Julio Jones rivals Green-Beckham’s elite 4.4 speed.
I’m about to take a page from Mel Kiper Jr.’s book when he correctly predicted that quarterback Matthew Stafford, before playing a down of college football at Georgia, would eventually be an NFL first overall draft pick. However, Kiper had the security blanket of Stafford being a quarterback. I’m going out on a limb by predicting a wide receiver. Dorial Green-Beckham will be the number one overall draft pick in the 2015 draft, should he decide to forego his senior season at Missouri like most elite wide receivers in college. Yes, 1996 was the last time a wide receiver was drafted with the top pick in the NFL draft. Yes, teams have almost unanimously hoped to find their future under center with the top slot every April since the Jets took Keshawn Johnson. Let me tell you why Dorial Green-Beckham will buck that trend while becoming the next legendary college wide out.
The number one thing that grabbed my attention from seeing Green-Beckham play is his flat-out refusal to go out of bounds. I have never in my life seen a wide receiver less afraid of contact than Green- Beckham. While he doesn’t possess A.J. Green or Calvin Johnson’s otherworldly ability to twist his body in mid-air and catch anything thrown near him, Green-Beckham shows a wild determination to keep plays alive after the catch. In the video posted below this article, watch how many times he appears headed out of bounds, then either stiff arms or lowers his shoulder and bulldozes his way through defenders for as many extra yards as possible. When he isn’t trucking through people for extra yards, he is using his stellar cutback ability to bring the play back towards the open field where he can unleash other evasive tactics in the hopes of scoring….every…single…time.
The next thing I noticed was Green-Beckham’s uncanny ability to locate the ball in midair and use his body as a shield from defenders while catching it over his shoulder or snagging the football at its highest point. I observed his high school quarterback seemingly struggle to put a zip on even the shortest passes to receivers, which led to plenty of underthrown deep routes where you see Green-Beckham stop running, catch the ball at its highest point, maintain his balance, then fight his way through would-be tacklers for extra yardage. One specific facet of his tackle-breaking ability also caught my eye. When a receiver is as big and strong as Optimus Prime, defenders have to go for the legs to bring him down. However, Green-Beckham has shown a hurdling ability that is sure to make waves throughout SportsCenter highlights during his first season in the SEC.
With the season opener looming, fans in the new Columbia of the SEC are excited to see whether their home-grown star will fulfill his unlimited potential. If he does, it will surely help ease the growing pains of a team newly experiencing the behemoth that is the Southeastern Conference. Heck, he may even back up my insanely premature prediction while transforming into the next sports star. If all that happens? Well, a made-for-TV rivalry with the almighty Megatron will be waiting for him.