Forgive the Pittsburgh Steelers scouting contingent if they were simply looking for a good excuse to dive into some authentic Cajun cuisine. None could blame. But the club's interest in dining with LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. Tuesday night before his pro-day workout could denote an appetite for a wide receiver in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Beckham confirmed with SiriusXM NFL Radio that he had dinner with the club, along with a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers and trip to visit the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. What sort of fit might Beckham be in black and gold? NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has identified wide receiver as one of the club's three biggest draft needs, and believes Beckham will be the third wide receiver drafted after Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans. Perhaps even in the draft's top 10 picks, which would put him out of reach for the Steelers picking at No. 15.
"Every now and then you have a player go in the top 10 (and) nobody saw it coming. How about WR Odell Beckham Jr. from LSU," Jeremiah said. "This is a player a lot of people are excited about. And if we see a guy like Sammy Watkins potentially go with that No. 2 overall pick, and then you see Mike Evans go early on, I think Odell Beckham Jr. is next in line."
These are busy days for Beckham, whose 4.43 40-yard dash and impressive positional drill work at the NFL Scouting Combine in February confirmed high draft grades. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was on hand for Beckham's pro day Wednesday in Baton Rouge, La., and while Beckham didn't participate in any timed testing, he reminded Tomlin of what he can do with a football. As Jeremiah noted, Beckham's best hope for being drafted higher in the first round depends somewhat upon how quickly Watkins and Evans are off the board.
The sooner they go, the sooner Beckham goes. And with the No. 15 pick, the Steelers could be in an ideal position to make him theirs.