Combine height: 6-3
Combine weight: 243 pounds
Combine 40 time: did not run at Combine
Beckum caught 23 passes for 264 yards and no touchdowns in a senior season that ended prematurely due to a fractured left fibula. After spending his first year at Wisconsin on special teams and as a backup linebacker/defensive end, Beckum concluded his Badgers career with 159 catches for 2,149 yards and 11 touchdowns.
When Beckum considered turning pro following his junior season, some scouts had him ranked equal to or above Jets first-round pick Dustin Keller. The two have similar game in that they’re far more pass-catcher than blocker. Beckum has natural hands and above-average speed, with the ability to threaten defenses down the seam. He’s a decent route-runner who isn’t afraid to go over the middle, and he has good burst and is capable of making defenders miss in the open field.
That said, for a former linebacker he isn’t particularly physical; most scouts agree he’ll need to get stronger to have success in the NFL. He’s not a particularly adept—or even willing—blocker, and last year’s injury only fuels the concerns that he has durability issues. In addition to the broken leg that shortened his senior season, Beckum had shoulder surgery prior to last year and dealt with neck and back spasms the season before that.
With other more complete (Brandon Pettigrew) or equally athletic (Jared Cook, James Casey)—and in all cases more durable—options in the 2009 tight end draft class, it’s unlikely Beckum gets a first-round call. Something in the late second isn’t out of the question, with the Browns (50), Falcons (55), Ravens (57) and Cardinals (63) among the teams who might want to add a pass-catching tight end to the roster. On Day Two, Beckum could hear his name called early on with the Rams (66), Bengals (70), Jaguars (72), Packers (73), and Bills (75) all in the mix.
If he can stay healthy and is drafted into the right situation, there’s little question Beckum could put up numbers similar to Keller’s with the Jets last year: 48 catches, 535 yards, three touchdowns. Those are fringe fantasy starter numbers, so if you’re considering Beckum for the upcoming campaign you’re doing so with a Dallas Clark-like upside in mind. If lingering issues from the broken leg limit Beckum’s participation in rookie minicamps, he’ll start even further behind than his classmates and those numbers will have to be dialed back accordingly.
Tight ends aren’t generally the foundation of dynasty league squads, but it’s always nice to have the position filled for the long term so you can focus elsewhere. Beckum fits the new breed of tight ends who are too big/too slow to play wideout but, when used in the slot, cause matchup problems and are capable of producing helpful fantasy stats. So long as he’s can bulk up enough to handle at least a little of the blocking portion of the equation, Beckum offers as much upside.