Dorial Green-Beckham is big, fast, athletic.
At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, with a sub 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash, he has all the physical attributes that create what Eagles de facto GM Howie Roseman called a “rare skill set” for a wide receiver.
Green-Beckham, just a year removed from the 40th overall pick, for Dennis Kelly?
If it sounds too good to be true …
“Now, there’s a reason he’s available at this time,” Roseman said, just after listing all of his new receiver’s attributes. “And he’s gotta get more consistent like we’re talking about. But for us and where we are in development, we thought it was a risk worth taking.”
Despite losing Kelly, who was a top backup offensive lineman, this trade seems like a no-brainer. Green-Beckham will come to Philadelphia with what should be a decent shot to win a starting job or at least earn some playing time.
The question is, why were the Titans so eager to rid themselves of a second-round pick from a year ago? Now, putting aside the possibility that they just had to have Dennis Kelly, there are a few reasons. One of which shouldn’t scare Eagles fans too much: they have an overabundance of wide receivers. Fair enough.
But what about the other possible reasons? Titans head coach Mike Mularkey hasn’t been quiet about wanting more consistency from Green-Beckham, the receiver’s work ethic had come into question, and by all accounts, he had slipped mightily on the depth chart, despite a decent 32-catch rookie season. Roseman on Tuesday acknowledged Mularkey’s public comments about Green-Beckham’s lack of consistency.
“We’re going into it with our eyes open,” Roseman said. “He was the 40th pick overall, incredibly talented guy. He’s got to make the most of his opportunity.”
Then, there are off-the-field concerns and there are plenty of them, which led to his dismissal from Missouri. The first two involved marijuana. The last included a burglary and assault investigation in which a woman claimed Green-Beckham pushed her down stairs. He was never charged in the incident. After his dismissal from Missouri, he went to Oklahoma but never played.
“We’ve spent a lot of time here in the last weeks doing some background work,” Roseman said. “He comes in with the opportunity. No promises have been made. We felt comfortable at this time to bring him in here and give him an opportunity to compete.”
As of Tuesday morning, Roseman had never sat down to talk with Green-Beckham, but said from his research, he’s been told Green-Beckham is a “good-hearted kid,” with “good intentions,” and is “not a locker room cancer at all.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time the Eagles have been willing to bring in players with character concerns this offseason. Like in the draft – Jalen Mills, Wendell Smallwood, Alex McCalister – this move comes with some risk, but also allowed the team to get added value because of those concerns.
“I’m gonna preface this by saying we’re not in the rehabilitation business,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “But at the same time, we feel like with the staff that I’ve assembled on offense, with the personnel staff upstairs, we can bring guys in that might have had a little bit of a history and we can help these players. Not only become young men, but become good football players.”
Green-Beckham, who will travel to Pittsburgh but won’t play Thursday, will join a group of receivers that has been inconsistent at best. Jordan Matthews has been on the shelf since hurting his knee at practice and his absence has been felt greatly. The rest of the lackluster veteran receiving corps include Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Chris Givens and Rueben Randle.
When asked about the current group of receivers, both Roseman and Pederson said they’re “young,” which is a nice way of saying they’re making mistakes and aren’t very good yet. Roseman called the trade an “opportunity to increase the competition at the wide receiver position,” something this team needed badly.
Starting quarterback Sam Bradford didn’t know much about Green-Beckham other than the receiver’s size and physical attributes. (Neither did receiver Chris Givens.) He hopes Green-Beckham will be a solid red zone threat.
Still, Bradford admitted it will take some time to get on the same page with his newest weapon.
“I’m sure there’ll be some extra route sessions, whether that’s during practice or during special teams, after practice, making sure that we’re both comfortable with each other,” he said. “We’ve still got a few weeks before the opener, so I think that’s plenty of time to get ready.”
And plenty of time for Green-Beckham to start proving the trade really wasn’t just too good to be true.