Four Years Ago, Odell Beckham Jr. Was Prepared To Play For Lions

"It would have been a great opportunity," he said of teaming up with Johnson and Tate.

Will Burchfield
August 16, 2018 - 11:44 am

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The 2014 NFL Draft lives on infamy for Lions fans, a harrowing memory of passed-over stars. Foremost among them is Odell Beckham Jr., who was fully prepared on draft night to slip on a Honolulu Blue jersey. The Lions picked Eric Ebron 10th overall instead. 

Beckham went 12th overall to the Giants. 

Asked if the Lions screwed up by not drafting him, Beckham, speaking to a crowd of reporters in Allen Park after Thursday's joint practice between the Lions and the Giants, suppressed a smile and said, "That was their decision. But I do remember, going into the draft is a crazy process. You really don’t know where you’re gonna go. I had no idea I was gonna be where I’m at today."

Beckham said he thought Tampa Bay was a possibility with the seventh overall pick, as well as Buffalo with the ninth overall pick. 

"(The Bills) traded up (to No. 4) and got Sammy (Watkins), Tampa took Mike Evans," Beckham recalled, the memory still fresh. 

At that point, Beckham thought the Vikings would take him ninth overall. But they chose linebacker Anthony Barr. 

"And then tenth I was like, alright, I’m gonna go to Detroit," Beckham said. "Didn’t happen and I fell to 12 to the Giants. I think it worked out perfectly." 

It's hard to argue. In four seasons in New York, Beckham has established himself as one of the game's premier talents. He was one of only two players from 2014-2016 -- the other being Antonio Brown -- to accrue at least 4,000 receiving yards and 35 touchdowns. He missed most of the 2017 season with a broken ankle, but is fully healthy entering year five. 

Considering the Lions already had Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate in tow ahead of the 2014 draft, plus a quarterback entering his prime in Matthew Stafford, it's hard to not think about a passing attack that could have been. Even Beckham entertained the idea. 

"I’m sure I thought about it during that time, and it would have been a great opportunity, but everything happens for a reason," he said.  

As for Ebron, the Lions cut him this offseason to avoid picking up his $8.25 million option. He signed shortly thereafter with the Colts. In 56 games over four seasons in Detroit, Ebron caught 186 passes for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Beckham's numbers over 47 games in New York? 313 receptions for 4,424 yards and 38 touchdowns. 

His time in Detroit this week is just another reminder of a bad memory.