Glenn Guilbeau / USA Today
METAIRIE – Odell Beckham Jr., knew he would be picked in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night, but it still hit him right in the eyes.
The former LSU wide receiver from Newman High in New Orleans openly wept as he was interviewed on ESPN moments after the New York Giants took him with the 12th pick of the first round in New York City.
“I’m so emotional,” Beckham said. “It’s crazy. I’m so blessed.”
Beckham (5-foot-11, 199 pounds) was the third wide receiver taken after Sammy Watkins of Clemson went to Buffalo as the fourth pick of the first round and Mike Evans of Texas A&M went as the seventh overall pick to Tampa Bay. Beckham joins former Newman quarterback Eli Manning with the Giants as well as former LSU wide receiver Rueben Randle, a second round pick in 2012.
Beckham also became the earliest selected wide receiver in LSU history as the 12th pick. The previous highest picked wide receiver was Michael Clayton by Tampa Bay with the 15th pick in 2004. Beckham is LSU’s first wide receiver to go in the first round since Dwayne Bowe was the 23rd pick of the first round by Kansas City in 2007.
A fast and versatile receiver, Beckham ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the NFL Combine last February and because he ran so fast, he decided not to run the 40 at LSU’s Pro Day two months later. He led LSU last season with 19.5 yards a catch and was second on the team with 59 receptions for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns. He returned 18 punts for an 8.9-yard average and 32 kickoffs for a 26.4-yard average. Beckham also returned a missed field goal 100 yards for a touchdown in the Tigers’ 56-17 victory over Alabama-Birmingham, becoming the first college player to do that in decades.
Beckham finished No. 2 in the nation in all-purpose yards with a 178.1-yard average per game and won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. He was named a first team All-American as a kick returner by both the Football Writers’ Association of America and CBSSports.com. Beckham set the school record with 2,315 all-purpose yards in 2013.
Beckham became the sixth first round draft choice signed and coached by Coach Les Miles and the first on the offensive side of the ball.