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Late for Work 4/12: Odell Beckham Jr. Is 'Much Healthier' Than He's Been in Years

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) runs after the catch during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in Glendale, Ariz.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) runs after the catch during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in Glendale, Ariz.

In Odell Beckham Jr., Ravens Are Getting 'Very Good, Very Healthy Player'

The Athletic's Mike Sando noted that "Odell Beckham Jr. had no equal through the first 62 regular-season games of his career, but his per-game production fell below league average in 34 subsequent games."

Based on that breakdown, Sando said the Ravens' hope should be to get average production from the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver.

However, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport believes the 30-year-old Beckham is still quite capable of being a difference-maker. Beckham's drop in production was largely due to injuries, including two ACL tears, but Rapoport said on "The Pat McAfee Show" that Beckham is "much healthier" than he's been in years.

The last time Beckham was on the field, with the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl in February 2022, he had two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown before suffering a torn ACL late in the first half. In the NFC Championship game two weeks prior, Beckham had nine catches for 113 yards.

"Had he stayed healthy in the Super Bowl, he probably is the Super Bowl MVP. He looked really good," Rapoport said. "His knee, his ACL, was not fully healthy at that point. Obviously he tore it, but it was not healthy before that. More than a year removed from ACL surgery, his knee is probably healthier than it has been in quite some time.

"[The Ravens] are going to be getting a very good and very healthy player."

Beckham hasn't played a full season since 2019, but even if he misses some time in 2023, McAfee said it won't matter as long as he's available for the stretch run and postseason.

"If he's playing at the end of the season when games matter, he's going to make plays for the Ravens and that's all you're signing him for," McAfee said. "You're signing him for Weeks 14-through the playoffs. That's what you got OBJ for."

NFL.Com Pundit's Mock Draft Has Ravens Complementing OBJ With JSN

Despite acquiring Beckham, it's a near certainty that the Ravens will draft a wide receiver, perhaps in the first round.’s Rhett Lewis is among the pundits who believe the Ravens will use their first pick on a receiver, as he has them selecting Jaxon Smith-Njigba of Ohio State with the 22nd-overall pick in his mock draft.

"A healthy Rashod Bateman and OBJ on the outside with JSN in the slot and Mark Andrews at tight end could make this the top 11-personnel grouping in the league!" Lewis wrote.

Smith-Njigba is widely regarded as the best receiver in the draft and is likely to be off the board before Baltimore is on the clock. However, this is a deep wide receiver class, which is good news for the Ravens, who currently do not have a second-round pick.

Mel Kiper Jr. Shifts From Wide Receiver to Cornerback in His Latest Mock Draft

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had the Ravens selecting a wide receiver in his first three mock drafts, but he went with Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks in his latest effort.

"Banks has excellent physical tools. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the combine and showed off a 42-inch vertical jump, which was the best among the cornerbacks in Indianapolis," Kiper wrote. "He excels in man coverage, using his speed to turn and run with receivers. He had only two picks in his career, but he gets his hands on passes. He could start on the other side of Marlon Humphrey in Baltimore."

While wide receivers and cornerbacks continue to be the players most often mocked to the Ravens in the first round, Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson has Baltimore taking Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith.

"Baltimore loves adding edge rushers of all shapes and sizes to its defense, and Nolan Smith would be just the latest example," Monson wrote. "An elite athlete, Smith is also an exceptional run defender despite weighing 238 pounds. He posted a 25.5% pass-rush win rate last season and an elite 14.9% run-stop rate."

Ravens Hit Home Runs With Selections of Lamar Jackson and Joe Flacco

CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin looked at all 45 quarterbacks who have been drafted in the first round over the past 15 years and placed them into four categories: home run, mixed result, incomplete, and miss.

The Ravens drafted two first-round quarterbacks in that span — Lamar Jackson (2018) and Joe Flacco (2008) — and Benjamin said Baltimore hit it out of the park on both.

"Jackson is one of the NFL's defining talents; he hasn't been the most durable, and he's struggled in brief playoff efforts, but his world-class speed has kept Baltimore afloat, even as the team has failed to surround him with steady pass catchers," Benjamin wrote. "Flacco gets more ridicule for being even more of a throwback pocket passer, ultimately settling into an ultra-conservative approach, but his big arm was instrumental in the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl run and he still captained six different playoff runs over 11 seasons in Baltimore."

Jackson and Flacco were among 11 quarterbacks in the "home run" category. Twenty quarterbacks were labeled a "miss."

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