LSU WR Odell Beckham said in a radio appearance Wednesday that he’d be making a pre-draft visit with the Bills Thursday, but the projected first-round pick was joined two other prospects. Towson RB Terrance Cobb and Rice CB Phillip Gaines were also meeting with Buffalo coaches at One Bills Drive.
WR Odell Beckham
The son of a mother who was an All-American sprinter and a father who was an LSU running back, Odell Beckham Jr. comes from the deep end of the athletic gene pool, which is partly why he’s considered one of the top receivers in the 2014 draft class. Beckham (5-11 1/2, 198) has 4.43 speed and that coupled with his sharp route running was a big reason why his production at LSU increased in each of his three seasons with the Tigers.
“His route running is really, really good and I know the NFL people love him,” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.
Despite appearing in just 12 games his junior season, Beckham eclipsed the 1,100-yard plateau in 2013 with eight of his 57 catches going for touchdowns. He also doubles as a return threat on both punts and kickoffs with two returns for touchdowns in his college career.
Perhaps his best game last season came at Mississippi State when Beckham had nine receptions for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also posted 111 yards on five kick returns for a 290 all-purpose yardage day in a 59-26 victory.
The only knocks on Beckham are that he could stand to add some bulk and strength and though he’s improved his catching ability he will still have the occasional drop of a catchable ball. His experience running a full route tree in LSU’s offense coupled with his natural ability to make the first defender miss has him predominantly ranked as a first round prospect.
“Several teams could use him,” said ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper. “You’re thinking Kansas City at 23, Cleveland at 26 and teams picking late in the first round could take him. Even the Jets as high as 18 could take him even though they signed (Eric) Decker they could look for another receiver. I think he goes 18 to 32.”
RB Terrance Cobb
A small-school sleeper in every sense of the word, Cobb (5-10, 213) played his college ball for NAIA school the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. He had a monstrous junior season in 2012 when he rushed for 1,991 yards and 26 touchdowns. That production earned him Mid-South Offensive Player of the Year honors.
In 2013 an injury kept him out of the Patriots lineup for all but six games. Cobb still managed to average 5.8 yards a carry and six touchdowns and averaged more than 105 all-purpose yards per game.
Cobb has good NFL bloodlines. He’s related to Reggie Cobb a former second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1990) and had a seven-year career in the NFL after a successful college career at Tennessee.
The Knoxville, Tennessee native is forecast as a late round pick or priority free agent.
CB Phillip Gaines
Gaines (6-1, 185) is a long, rangy cover corner with the ability to effectively turn and run with receivers. A four-year starter at Rice, Gaines’ first two college seasons were compromised by injury (broken wrist, foot injury) and he took a medical redshirt in 2011. He returned in 2012 and did not miss any of the remaining 26 games in his college career.
A two-time first team All-Conference USA selection the past two seasons, Gaines shows well in press coverage and appears to have the feet to mirror receivers. He set a record at Rice for most career pass breakups with 42, but has just four career interceptions.
A team captain for two seasons Gaines has an exemplary work ethic and will need to make use of it to refine his technique for the next level.
Gaines is projected by draft analysts as a third round pick.