Wherever one goes, the other follows.
Odell Beckham figures to be taken in the first round of next week's NFL Draft and not long later, Javis Landry's name will soon be called, likely on Day 2.
For this pair of wide receivers from LSU that both committed to their college of choice as part of the same recruiting class and declared for the draft after their junior year, experiencing life together is just something to which they've become accustomed.
"It’s an interesting relationship," said Landry at the NFL Combine. "I got a chance to meet him our sophomore year of high school and we talked about playing together and competing against each other each game, each week. We finally had a chance to go to LSU together and it was surreal just to think that all that we talked about, we were experiencing."
Having lost James Jones in free agency, Jermichael Finley still on the market and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb playing with just one year left on their respective contracts, it wouldn't be surprising if the Green Bay Packers were highly interested in both Beckham and Landry.
It might be a stretch to think Beckham would slip all the way to the 21st pick in the draft, which the Packers currently own, but if he did, Beckham may be the type of talent that would be difficult to pass up.
The Beckham bloodlines are rather impressive, his father a former LSU running back and his mother a six-time All-American sprinter on the Tiger track them.
For three straight years in Baton Rouge, Beckham had an increasing level of production each season, culminating in a 2013 campaign that saw him grab a career-high 59 passes for 1,152 yards for a whopping 19.5 yards per catch to go along with eight touchdowns.
Adding to his value, Beckham has experience as both a kick and punt returner, highlighted by a junior season in which he returned two punts for touchdowns.
Part of Beckham's upward trend—and for that matter, Landry's too—can be attributed to LSU's 2013 hiring of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, a former NFL coach that lent some professional football experience to his players in college.
"It definitely helped prepare me," said Beckham. "Cam Cameron was there and just the offensive system that he came in, schemes and stuff that he taught us, it kind of gives you an advantage going into the next level."
Under Cameron's tutelage, Landry led LSU in receiving this past season, hauling in 77 passes for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns, most of them from quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
Despite a prevailing sentiment of Landry being ranked lower than his teammate, that doesn't mean there's isn't a lot to like.
"Landry to me, with his toughness and ability to play inside or outside reminds me a little bit of Hines Ward," said NFL Draft analyst Mike Mayock. "He's one of the physically toughest players in this draft, for any position. He catches everything, he's the kind of guy I'd like to have as a teammate, so I really like him."
Another player whose production grew with each passing season, Landry felt he had little left to prove by sticking around for another year in college.
"My job going into this past offseason, I told myself I was going to make it as hard as possible with coach Cam and coach (Les) Miles to make me stay with my senior year in mind the whole time," said Landry. "I had a productive year along with another 1,000-yard receiver, a 1,000-yard running back and a 500-yard running back.
"For me, when we got in the office and talked, it wasn’t about me staying. It was about them understanding and them basically saying farewell to the career that I had at LSU."
Underclassmen leaving for professional football has become a growing trend at LSU, having lost 10 in 2013 and another seven this year.
For players like Beckham and Landry, however, joining the ranks of the NFL appears justified. Each has their own set of strengths and a slightly contrasting style they bring to the game.
"I definitely think that we both bring different things to the table," said Beckham. "He's a possession guy; he's going to catch everything around him. I'm the guy who's going to take the top off a defense and use a lot of my speed as my strength. Him, he's a physical guy; he's going to be one of those guys who's going to make the tough catches."
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
Photo: LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham by Brian Carriveau.
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