Each day for the duration of the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, vikings.com will profile one wide receiver from this year's draft class.
Our first subject in the 2015 NFL Combine WR Spotlight series is unlikely to be the first in his position to come off the draft board in a couple months, but he has as much upside and intrigue as any prospect at any position. Dorial Green-Beckham is his name, and many draft analysts attest he has big-time game.
Buzz around Green-Beckham was big on Thursday when he officially measured in at 6-5, 237 pounds, which is nearly identical to Detroit's Calvin Johnson, who measures in at 6-5, 236 pounds. Size alone is no true basis for a comparison, but that didn't stop people from drawing parallels.
"He's one of the best receivers I've ever seen," an AFC college scout told NFL Media's Albert Breer prior to the Combine. "He's special. He's gigantic; he has tremendous body control, balance; he runs like a deer and can leap out of the gym and high-point the ball. He's special. It's impressive. If not for all that stuff, he'd be the best receiver to come out since Calvin Johnson."
So what is "all of that stuff"? It's off-field concerns, a topic that has come into focus at this year's Combine.
Green-Beckham was dismissed from the University of Missouri in April of 2014 and transferred to the University of Oklahoma. He couldn't play for the Sooners this past season, though, because transfer rules require the player to sit out one season. But Green-Beckham is foregoing his remaining eligibility and will enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
While Green-Beckham will be questioned intensely regarding his off-field issues, there appears to be no question about his on-field ability. In 2013 for Missouri, he hauled in 59 receptions for 883 yards and 12 touchdowns, raising his two-season total for the Tigers to 87-1,278-17.
For his part, Green-Beckham did not hide from his past transgressions during his podium session at the Combine. He admitted mistakes, expressed regret and reassured those questioning him about his ability to straighten out and establish an NFL career that he knows "what's at stake."
For now, most project Green-Beckham to be a late first-round pick and maybe a second-rounder. NFL Network's Mike Mayock has Green-Beckham as the fourth-rated receiver in the draft and fellow NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah does not have Green-Beckham going in the first round.
If the Vikings don't address WR at No. 11, could he be the next target in a trade back into the last part of the first round? The Vikings did that to acquire S Harrison Smith, WR Cordarrelle Patterson and QB Teddy Bridgewater. Or might the Vikings coyly sit back and wait for the playmaker to fall to them in the second round? Or will the Vikings completely pass due to the concerns swirling around him and/or a lack of ability?
Only time will tell, of course, but for now expect the hype around Green-Beckham to remain.
QuotableHere is more from Green-Beckham himself regarding off-field concerns:
"About that, I proved that I'm a better person by how mature I've grown. These last few months have been real tough for me. Missing a whole season, missing playing with my teammates, and just missing football period. Just looking from the outside in, and seeing things I've never seen before, I just want to take advantage of that. And make sure I will be there for all my teammates and make sure I'm still going to be the best guy I can be off the field."