It is with great enthusiasm that Reception Perception reports Odell Beckham Jr. might just be back. Of course, we have yet another injury question to deal with but Beckham’s Reception Perception results in a shortened 2020 sample looked much closer to the legendary talent he was in New York than he was with the 2019 Browns.

Success Rate by Route

Route Percentage

Success Rate vs. Coverage

As noted in his 2019 profile, Beckham never finished below the 98th percentile in success rate vs. press coverage in any sampled season with the Giants and owned two of the four best success rate vs. man coverage marks since 2014. His fall-offs to the 54th percentile vs. man coverage and 42nd against press coverage were some of the most disappointing outcomes in recent memory.

As you see, what Beckham did in six games with the 2020 Browns inspired hope that he can get back to being something just shy of the truly transcendent talent he was to start his career.

With a 76.5 percent success rate vs. man coverage score, Beckham scored at the 91st percentile. He also posted an 80.4 percent success rate vs. press (94th percentile). Those are the type of near top-of-the-line results we came to expect from this player. 

What was the difference between these two players? Part of it may have been health. Even though Beckham’s season ended early, he was likely operating at closer to full-strength last year than he was while playing banged up throughout the 2019 season. Another point is coaching. The Freddie Kitchens coaching staff (what a shock) bungled Beckham’s route distribution in his first season with the team. Kevin Stefanski bumped up Beckham’s slant route (23.1 percent) and comeback route rate (7.7 percent) a tremendous degree after those were lacking from his 2019 portfolio. This makes sense, as they were two of Beckham’s best patterns with the Giants.

Beckham responded and was electric throughout the route tree. He fell below the NFL average on just one pattern (the flat) and was lethal as a vertical and layup separator. 

We know the production still hasn’t followed Beckham to Cleveland and narratives abound about why he and Baker Mayfield just don’t have “chemistry.” Count me among those that believe Mayfield’s best games last year taking place without Beckham in the lineup are a mere product of the quarterback finding comfort in a new offense or just downright coincidence. The two players’ peaks could easily intersect this year now that the offensive ecosystem is stable. 

As mentioned above, it is worth noting that we do have another injury question to consider with Beckham. One of my theories as to why Beckham’s success rates slipped last year was the build-up of lower-body injuries in addition to what he dealt with in 2019. We’ve stacked one more on the pile after last year. A variable with such an unknowable answer should give us some pause when proclaiming we’ll get the best version of Beckham in Cleveland in 2021.

But my god, do I want to see that happen.

Beckham’s 2020 Reception Perception results were just what we needed to keep the candle lit for another season. It gives us some confidence that seeing something close to prime Odell Beckham again is within the range of outcomes. 

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