New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham has been described as the most pro-ready route runner coming out of the draft. Now there is a chance he also adds punt and/or kick return duties to his job description.
When Beckham was drafted with the 12th overall pick, general manager Jerry Reese made a point to call the 5-foot-11 receiver a "dynamic" punt and kickoff returner.
Given the generally difficult transition from college to pros that many rookie receivers go through, the question remains whether the Giants will want or need to put those skills to the test -- and put his body at risk.
"Will he do each of them?" special teams coach Tom Quinn said last week, per NJ.com's Jordan Raanan. "You don't know based on what the active list is for the game, but we're prepping him to do both and prepping (Trindon) Holliday to do both and Rueben Randle's still back there (on punts) and (Jerrel) Jernigan, so we're trying to have a deep pool to choose from."
As Quinn noted, sometimes getting return duties actually helps players in other aspects of the game.
"A lot of times it gives those guys confidence and they progress on and they end up being offensive or defensive players later on down the road," he said.
The return jobs essentially are Holliday's to lose. However, the free-agent acquisition must make the roster first. As Raanan notes, coach Tom Coughlin doesn't like to reserve roster spots for specialists. If Holliday can't prove to be a viable back-end receiver, he could be a candidate to be cut.
If that happens, Beckham certainly will be a nominee to add return duties to the important role he's in line to play alongside Victor Cruz and Randle in the passing game.