Former LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr poised for a big season in 2020

Odell Beckham Jr/Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham Jr/Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Former LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr wasn’t at his best in 2019.

Odell Beckham Jr didn’t stop being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL just because of a down season in 2019.

The former LSU standout had the least productive season of his NFL career last year (not counting his injury shortened 2017 season with the New York Giants). Beckham caught 74 passes for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns during his first season with the Cleveland Browns.

Those aren’t bad numbers, but it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing from Beckham.

In 2018, for example, Beckham exceeded those numbers by catching 77 passes for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns during his final season with the Giants. And he put up those numbers in just 12 games.

So what went wrong for OBJ in 2019 in his first season in Cleveland?

A lot of things.

First off, the coaching staff was a disaster. Hiring Freddie Kitchens as the team’s head coach was a mistake. Kitchens did well as the team’s interim offensive coordinator in 2018. But he wasn’t ready to be a head coach.

Kitchens is a career position coach who has bounced around with various college and NFL teams since 2000. His stint as the Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2018 was the first time he had ever served as a coordinator in his career.

Everything about the brief Kitchens era was a disaster. The penalties, the arguing, the Myles Garrett/Mason Rudolph incident, the drop in Baker Mayfield’s production. It was all just bad. And Beckham was a casualty of the dysfunction.

Another factor that contributed to Beckham’s down year was a sports hernia that he played through the entire season (he had surgery on January 21).

It’s hard to be productive with that type of injury. In fact, it’s impressive that Beckham was able to compile over 1,000 receiving yards between the injury and Kitchens.

Beckham is ready to move forward, though. And he indicated this week, via YouTube, that he’s going to be better than ever in 2020.

“I would honestly say this is probably going to be one of my best seasons. Bigger, stronger, faster — this is my time”, said Beckham (via ESPN).

The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski (previously the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings) to replace Kitchens. And Beckham has already voiced his approval for the hire.

Here’s what he told earlier this year:

"With the new coach coming in, just seeing what he did with the Minnesota Vikings for a long time with (Adam) Thielen and (Stefon) Diggs. These are people who I’ve watched closely on their film, and just seeing the things that he did and meeting him and seeing where his mind’s at for Jarvis (Landry) and myself of how this will all work out, I have a good feeling about it, you know?"

Beckham is one of the best playmakers in the NFL. And the Browns’ offense is loaded with talent.

Stefanski has proved he knows how to get playmakers the ball. If Mayfield can return to his rookie form, then Beckham, along with fellow former LSU star Jarvis Landry, should be in a good spot to have a big season in 2020.