It certainly looks like Dorial Green-Beckham has been putting in the work. The Titans made Green-Beckham the 40th overall selection in the NFL Draft, despite missing the entire 2014 college football season. It was a risky pick on a few different levels, but for now it looks like DGB is on the right track.
Full disclosure here: I was iffy on Green-Beckham through the draft process. He always has been a physical freak. Size, athletic ability, flexibility -- it's all there. What he lacked was polish. He didn't do the little things. I didn't think he was a great route runner at Missouri, which was one of my main reasons for being skeptical. Throw in a potential domestic violence charge and you had a recipe for disaster.
However, Ruston Webster was in a spot where he had to make something happen. The receivers last season were a major letdown. It became apparent that the Titans were going to have to add to the group, but other holes in the roster were looming as well. After trading back to pick 40, Webster pulled the trigger.
One of my immediate concerns with Green-Beckham was rust. He transferred to Oklahoma, but was forced to sit on the sidelines. The only live action he got was with the practice squad. It was a cause for concern at the time, but it looks like DGB has shaken off all the rust already.
Through two preseason games, Green-Beckham has totaled five catches for 72 yards. After his impressive debut in Atlanta, DGB earned time with the first team against St. Louis. He hooked up with Marcus Mariota in the first quarter after lining up in the slot -- a spot where I think he can do a lot of damage.
His time in the second quarter was what stood out to me. It was a sequence of three consecutive throws to DGB, each delivered by Zach Mettenberger. The first was a simple hitch route against off man coverage. Nothing special here. Easy first down toss.
Mettenberger came back to Green-Beckham on the next rep. DGB ran a nice out route, creating a step of separation. He did a fantastic job of controlling the pass and managing to get his feet down in limited space. It should be noted how easy he makes this look.
The final play was similar to the first, but it offered us a glimpse at DGB in the open field. This was something he excelled at with Missouri. It's off coverage once again. He sits the route down quickly on the curl, makes the catch and quickly makes the defender miss. He was able to get his third straight first down in the process. You don't typically see a 6'5, 230+ frame making these kinds of moves.
Here's the thing about the Titans receiver depth chart. Right now, it's Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright at the top. While both are nice players, neither guy offers you the size to go up and get the football. Webster thought Justin Hunter was going to be that guy, but that hasn't been the case.
This is all setting up for Green-Beckham to ascend fairly quickly. I think we are already seeing it happen. I would be very surprised if DGB doesn't get more time with the first team on Friday against the Chiefs. His size and athletic ability are going to demand playing time very early in the regular season.