Louisiana football fans fantasizing about LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. being drafted by the Saints are in for some tasty news: Beckham was supposed to have dinner with Saints officials after Wednesday’s Pro Day at LSU, he told reporters.
But folks shouldn’t get too pumped. He met with the Steelers and Patriots on Tuesday, his father said to The Advocate; has set up visits with the Bills and reportedly with the Jets and Bengals; and spent quite a bit of time chatting with the 49ers at Pro Day.
The Bills, Steelers, Jets, Bills and Bengals have the ninth, 15th, 18th and 24th picks of the first round of the draft May 8. The Saints have the 27th pick; the Patriots go 29th; and the 49ers choose 30th.
Beckham expressed an earnest excitement about attracting interest from the Saints.
“I always talked about how I wanted to play in the (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) in high school, and I never got the chance,” said the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Beckham, who prepped at Newman.
Alluding to LSU’s defeat in the BCS title game against Alabama in New Orleans after the 2011 season, he continued, “I got one chance, and it wasn’t what I expected or wanted it to be at all. It’s just crazy seeing those guys here and just even the possibility of me being able to play in my hometown in the Dome is a surreal feeling.”
If that possibility never materializes, he can blame an excellent final season at LSU in 2013, which culminated in the Tigers’ victory over Iowa in the Outback Bowl. He had 59 receptions for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns, and his 2,315 all-purpose yards ranked second all-time in the Southeastern Conference.
Beckham has only boosted his standing since then. He ran the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine in Indianapolis in an impressive 4.43 seconds. And he posted the combine’s best time in the 20- and 60-yard shuttles: 3.94 and 10.93 seconds.
His reputation as a speedster established, Beckham didn’t run at Pro Day. But he participated in passing drills and by all accounts wowed the talent evaluators in attendance.
Asked to comment on both Beckham and his close friend and teammate, receiver Jarvis Landry (who has drawn second-round projections), Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis lauded them.
“That’s evident in the number of people here to see these players,” Loomis said, referring to the hundreds who packed LSU’s indoor facility for Pro Day. “LSU always has good players, and they’re well-coached.”
The Saints, who many think might take a receiver early in the draft, are certainly covering their bases in case they don’t land Beckham.
Southern California wideout Marqise Lee, projected to be a late first-round pick, recently visited New Orleans’ facilities. And Beckham’s father said Landry was eating with the Saints on Wednesday as well.
Advocate sportswriter Matthew Harris contributed to this report. This story has been updated since it was first published to include more information.