Reaction to Ravens Signing WR Odell Beckham Jr.
On Sunday, the Ravens agreed in principle on a one-year deal with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Media across the sports landscape all shared their reaction to the news.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: "The Baltimore Ravens made their boldest move of the offseason by reaching a one-year agreement with three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday… Beckham becomes the most decorated player on the NFL's most unproven wide receiver group. The big question is the health of Beckham, who didn't play all of last season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during Super Bowl LVI."
CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani: "With the addition of Beckham, SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh estimates this improves Baltimore's win total from 9.6 to 10.0. He also hypothesizes the Ravens have a 6.9% better chance to win the division, 9.3% better chance to make the playoffs and 1.5% better chance to win the Super Bowl."
NBC Sports’ Peter King: "Pragmatism should be the best reaction to Beckham signing with the Ravens, no matter who his quarterback turns out to be. (Still betting on Lamar Jackson, by the way.) Entering his age-31 season, Beckham will be playing football for the first time in 19 months in September after two ACL surgeries. He has just 67 catches for 856 yards over the past three years. It's a nice signing, but expectations should be tempered. Beckham's last mega-season was seven years ago (101 catches, 1,367 yards, 10 TDs as a Giant in 2017). The best thing might be the sign it sends to Jackson: We want you back, we're probably going to add one more bright-prospect receiver in the draft, and it's all set up for you to take us deep in the playoffs."
The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker: "While there are questions about Beckham's health after he missed all of last season and hasn't played since suffering a torn ACL with the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56 in February 2022, when healthy he has proved to be one of the league's better receivers. In 2021, Beckham received a 76.5 grade from Pro Football Focus after catching 48 passes for 593 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games."
ESPN’s Seth Walder: "… Baltimore had] to improve its passing efficiency and can't rely only on [Mark Andrews as a receiving threat. Enter Beckham, a 30-year-old former superstar coming off an ACL tear in Super Bowl LVI with the Rams that cost him the entirety of 2022. It's expensive, but sometimes a team has to pay up when there are no other options left."
PFF’s Brad Spielberger: "The move reunites Beckham with new Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who held the same position with the Cleveland Browns the last time Beckham produced a 1,000-yard season in 2019… His 75.0 PFF receiving grade in 2021 with both the Browns and Rams would be the best by a Baltimore wide receiver to see 20-plus targets since Steve Smith Sr.'s 75.4 grade back in 2016."
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec: "Beckham, assuming he's anywhere close to what he was, gives the Ravens another threat in the passing game. With a healthy Beckham and Rashod Bateman, veteran Nelson Agholor and other young targets like Devin Duvernay and Isaiah Likely, the Ravens should field a competent passing game, assuming they figure out their quarterback situation."
Sports Illustrated’s Timm Hamm: "The signing of Beckham is a big one for the Ravens as they look to reinvigorate an offense under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken that's struggled in the passing game. Beckham's 1,035 yards and four touchdowns on 74 receptions in 2019 is certainly the type of production the Ravens would take, especially after a year away from the football field."
Baltimore Beatdown’s Frank Platko: "The Ravens finally make a splash in the wide receiver department by signing maybe the biggest name available. Having not played since 2021 and suffering multiple injuries over the past few years, Beckham Jr. carries risk. However, when last on the field, he proved to still be a talented difference-maker for the Rams. If the Ravens can get almost a full season of play from 'OBJ' in 2023, he's the exact type of proven wideout the team needs. The price tag is high, but the Ravens needed to take a swing and did."
Russell Street Report’s Darin McCann: "The Ravens have delivered on their promise of changing the team's receiving room for the 2023 season — just how good that will actually look is still to be determined. Assuming full health of Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, along with the addition of Nelson Agholor, the Ravens certainly look to be better on paper… They are better now than they were in January, and this could be a top-half unit next year. It's a big swing by General Manager Eric DeCosta."
Pundits: Signing of Beckham Jr. Does Not Impact Ravens Draft Strategy
With the Ravens agreeing to a deal with Beckham Jr., some are beginning to wonder if the Ravens' draft strategy changes.
For ESPN’s Matt Miller and Walder, they don't believe the move should make the Ravens stray from drafting a wideout with their first-round pick.
"The Ravens filled their biggest need, but it's important to note that it is only a one-year deal. There's still a hole at wide receiver for this team in the long-term projection of roster building," Walder wrote. "OBJ is a great addition if healthy, but the Ravens can and should still consider receivers like Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee), Quentin Johnston (TCU) and Zay Flowers (Boston College) at No. 22 overall."
"With Rashod Bateman coming off an injury-plagued 15-catch season, throwing free agency and draft resources at receiver is a smart play for general manager Eric DeCosta," Miller wrote.
King strongly emphasized the Ravens' strategy will remain what it was prior to their new addition.
"Odell Beckham's a good signing for the Ravens,but I doubt it changes their draft plans one iota," King wrote. "Baltimore still will strongly consider a first-round receiver, in part because the three or four top receivers should land in a bunch right around where the Ravens pick in the first round, at ."
NFL.com Pundit Breaks Down Polarizing Prospects
The Ravens have been linked to quite a few intriguing prospects in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL draft. Among them are some "polarizing" prospects, who pundits have discrepancies over.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks considers some of those prospects, arguing both for and against them, and closes by giving his evaluation.
Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Miss. State
"Forbes' rail-thin frame is a serious concern in a league where tackling has become a key component to playing great defense. Despite his willingness to mix it up and get into the fight on the perimeter at Mississippi State, the spectacular ballhawk's slender body and below-average strength could limit his ability to contribute as a starter."
Jordan Addison, WR, USC
"Addison possesses the tools to be an effective slot receiver in the NFL, but first-round picks are generally expected to dominate on the perimeter. Although his 2021 campaign at Pitt (100 catches, 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns) suggests that he is capable of putting up big numbers as a featured playmaker on Sundays, last year's dip in production at USC (59 catches, 875 receiving yards and eight scores) and his size/strength deficiencies spawn concerns about his ability to impact the game as a WR1."
Quentin Johnston, WR, TCU
"Johnston's dropsies and route limitations make it hard to view him as a WR1, but he could certainly carve out a role as a vertical threat on the perimeter. The TCU standout's combination of speed and explosion will create space for others while adding a big-play element that produces more points for the offense."
Nolan Smith, EDGE, Georgia
"Smith's athleticism outweighs his production and potential as a disruptive force. He is best suited for a role as a complementary defender, but his superior athleticism could prompt a team to miscast him as a marquee playmaker on the edges."