Going up against one of the league's best receivers twice a year can allow opponents to become quite familiar with his playing style.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is in his third NFL season and entered this week ranked sixth in the league with 630 receiving yards on 40 catches and three touchdowns. Since 2014, Beckham is second in receiving yards and first in touchdowns against NFC teams. With two Pro Bowl nominations already on his resume, Beckham is undeniably one of the best receivers in the league at such an early start to his career.
Eagles rookie cornerback Jalen Mills has not faced Beckham in the NFL, but engaged in plenty of battles on the practice field as a former teammate at LSU. Mills notices Beckham's growth as a player since the wide receiver took the NFL by storm.
"He's gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster," Mills said. "He knows the league and has made a lot of great plays in the league. So I'm pretty sure the matchup is going to be way different than anywhere else."
While defenses have struggled to slow him down physically, Beckham's aggressive mentality has at times gotten the best of him. After an Eli Manning interception against the Redskins, Beckham began to throw a tantrum on the sideline, and took his helmet to the kicking net causing the net to fall and strike him on his head. Defenders matched up with Beckham could easily use that as a trigger to get into the receiver's head. Mills thinks differently.
"No, that wouldn't be a good plan at all to try to do because when you're forcing a guy to try and get aggravated or get out of his character then I'm getting out of my character," Mills said. "I'm not really focusing on the scheme or the technique I have to play."
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According to Pro Football Focus, Beckham lines up in the slot on 10 percent of his snaps. Recently with Mills spending more time in the slot due to Ron Brooks' season-ending quad injury, the Giants could look to move Beckham to the inside for the LSU reunion.
"I don't know and I really don't care," Mills said of the potential matchup. "It's going to be football regardless."
Wide receiver Jordan Matthews also has familiarity with Beckham. During his senior season, while at Vanderbilt, he received a message from Beckham regarding his standout performance and the two quickly started networking.
With Beckham declaring for the draft early, Beckham and Matthews were both in the 2014 draft class and began to train together out in Arizona. It was then when Matthews was able to see the side of Beckham that not everybody has the chance to interact with.
"You can see all the dancing stuff and flashy stuff, but they don't really see how humble he is at his core," Matthews acknowledged. "When a man goes to work every day and competes, obviously he's chasing something. And if you have a goal in mind and you're driven, therein lies humility because you know you're not as good as you want to be. You know that there is more that you can obtain and that's the way he works.
"It's so crazy everybody sees this side and I tell them, 'that's one of the most humble and hardworking dudes that I know.' And the best part about Odell is he has fun with it."
First-time Giants head coach Ben McAdoo took the leading role after serving as the offensive coordinator for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Coming in as the head coach after holding the offensive coordinator position, McAdoo already had two full seasons worth of experience with Beckham.
"The most important thing is the way Odell practices. He practices hard. He practices fast. He practices like the game is very important to him. We always have to keep an eye on him because he goes so hard. I think that rubs off on other players on the team," McAdoo said.
"I like him to play with that edge. I like him to play right on the edge. I like him to play physical. I like him to play aggressive. I like him to attack. We just need to focus on what we can control and make sure we stay within the rules."
The Eagles defeated the Giants in both contests in the 2015 season, and held Beckham to 115 yards and a single touchdown. The Giants host the Eagles on Sunday for their first NFC East showdown against each other this season.