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May 8, 2014

Beckham goes to Giants

There will be two reunions when the New York Giants begin preparations for the 2014 season.

On Thursday, the Giants selected LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham with the 12th pick of the first round. Beckham will be reunited with Rueben Randle. In 2011, Randle and Beckham were the top receivers for the Tigers, who won 13 straight games before losing to Alabama in the national title contest.

The Giants' quarterback is Eli Manning, who played his high school football at Newman in New Orleans. Beckham also played his high school football at Newman.

"Odell Beckham is a dynamic outside receiver," said New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, who attended LSU's Pro Day last month. "This guy is a weapon and Eli Manning needs a weapon on the outside."

The Giants lost Hakeem Nicks, who was Manning's main threat on the outside. Victor Cruz, a returning starter, primarily lines up in the slot. Beckham will be competing with Randle for a starting position. According to reports, the Giants are not sold on Randle being a starting wide receiver.

The Giants have not been in the playoffs in four of the past five seasons. In the one season New York did advance to the playoffs, it beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Beckham had Super Bowl on his mind immediately after his selection.

"It's time to bring home a Super Bowl," said Beckham on ESPN. "Let's get one. I'm so overwhelmed. I'm finally here and it's an incredible feeling."

ESPN analyst Bill Polian, the former general manager of the Indianapolis Colts, gave a positive critique of Beckham.

"Beckham is a smooth and explosive athlete who brings a dangerous element after the catch and as a returner," Polian said. "He made tremendous improvement throughout the season with his release and ball skills. Beckham has the potential to develop into a strong No. 2 wideout."

Beckham is the highest drafted LSU wide receiver in school history. Michael Clayton was the 15th selection in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Four other Tigers wide receivers were picked in the first round - Wendell Davis (1988 by the Chicago Bears at 27), Eddie Kennison (1996 by the St. Louis Rams at 18), Dwayne Bowe (2007 by the Kansas City Chiefs at 23) and Craig Davis (2007 by the San Diego Chargers at 30).

Beckham is the highest drafted LSU offensive player in seven years. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell was the first pick of the 2007 draft by the Oakland Raiders.

"I definitely think I can come in and bring a lot of things if I get the opportunity to play," said Beckham to Newsday. "I can be a deep threat or whatever the team wants me to do."

Beckham will also be given the chance to return kicks. There will be a third reunion as the Giants have signed former LSU kick returner Trindon Holliday as a free agent during the offseason.


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