It doesn’t take a review of Dorial Green-Beckham’s transcript to know college wasn’t for him.
Because if it was, DGB wouldn’t have been arrested a second time for a marijuana-related charge and wouldn’t have been accused of pushing an 18-year woman down a flight of steps.
If he wanted to play college football, Green-Beckham would have valued his spot on Missouri’s roster. He lost it because of those actions.
Now, NFL teams must weigh those incidents against a player with perhaps more upside than any wide receiver who can turn pro.
News of Green-Beckham’s intention to enter the NFL Draft came Tuesday from Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who took in the troubled player after he was dismissed from the Tigers team in April.
Oklahoma tried to get Green-Beckham eligible immediately, saying he was “run off” at Missouri, but the NCAA correctly denied the appeal. When that happened, Sooners coaches expressed confidence Green-Beckham would return to play college football in 2015, which would give him additional time to repair the damage to his image, not to mention hone his game.
Instead, DGB is gone.
“I knew that was something that could happen,” Stoops said Tuesday. “I went in with eyes wide open that this might be the case.”
Stoops went on to give Green-Beckham high marks for his behavior at Norman.
“He had great character here,” Stoops said. “Did well in his classes, really worked hard for us.”
That will be part of the next level evaluation as well. But it’s sad to note that Green-Beckham didn’t make the most of this stop in his life.
It was a heart-warming story. DGB bounced between St. Louis, his birthplace, and Springfield as a youth, sleeping on couches and in group homes when he and younger brother Darnell were taken in by Tracy and John Beckham of Springfield. John Beckham was Hillcrest’s football coach. The couple had fostered dozens of children over the years.
DGB arrived at Missouri at most fortuitous time. The recruitment coincided with the Tigers’ transition from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference and the ability to beat out Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama and Texas for the nation’s top prospect and keep him home wasn’t only a great get for the Tigers, but an indication they could land elite talent — like a SEC power.
Injuries to starting quarterback James Franklin slowed Mizzou’s offense in Green-Beckham’s freshman season, when he caught 28 passes, five for touchdowns.
But a healthy Franklin in 2013 meant a big season for Green-Beckham, who turned in a monster effort in the SEC Championship Game loss to Auburn, 12 catches, including two touchdowns, and 144 yards.
He made second-team all-conference in a season loaded with good wide receivers like LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. (no relation), Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews.
Green-Beckham loomed as major factor in 2014 with Mizzou losing its other top wide receivers and breaking in a new quarterback. Turned out, the Tigers found success without DGB, capturing a second straight division title while he suited up but didn’t play for an underachieving Oklahoma team.
Without the baggage, Green-Beckham would be a valued NFL prospect.
“He obviously has a lot of red flags, but he can play,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said Tuesday. “If he was clean off the field, he would be a top-20 pick.”
Alabama’s Amari Cooper is considered the draft’s top wide receiver. Louisville’s DeVante Parker, West Virginia’s Kevin White and Auburn’s Sammie Coates are considered other prime prospects.
None have Green-Beckham’s 6-foot-6, 225-pound frame. Speed? He ran a 10.59-second 100 meters in high school and was Missouri’s track athlete of the year as a sophomore. DGB has always been an athletic freak.
Now, he’s falls into a similar category as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. No one questions their rare skills sets. The bottom line on their pro-readiness is likely to rest on a series of conversations they’ll have with team officials before the draft.
For all of their physical gifts, their words over the next few weeks will have to speak louder than the actions that called their character and maturity into question.