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Eli Manning prepped Odell Beckham for NFL


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Odell Beckham Jr. has two significant figures from his Louisiana past to help him adjust to life in New Jersey and the NFL.


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Beckham, who the Giants selected in the first round of the draft two weeks ago, has been at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center learning about the team's new offense, playing in the NFL and navigating the metropolitan area. The transition has been eased by the presence of fellow wide receiver Rueben Randle, his teammate at LSU in 2011 and close friend, and quarterback Eli Manning, who is a famous alum of Beckham's high school, Isidore Newman in New Orleans. Manning has thrown to Beckham at the annual Manning Passing Academy, held each summer at Nichols State University.

"It's been great with Rueben," Beckham said today in his first face-face meeting with the Giants media. "When I came into LSU he taught me the ropes there. He's teaching me things now. He may not be (my) personal tutor, but he'll teach me what I need to know as far as the position that he plays and the opposite side as well.

"It's definitely comforting to have a piece of home out here in my new home. Just hanging out with him and kind of rekindling our relationship has been fun."

So is reconnecting with Manning.

"It's been pretty surreal, actually," Beckham said. "Going to the Manning camps and throwing with him and back in high school, I think it was my sophomore or junior year, he came back to school and he was throwing. The coach always tells me about him and Peyton were deciding who gets to throw with me. We had other receivers out there but they were young. One day, thinking that maybe I'll get to play with one of the Mannings, and now here I am, it's pretty surreal.

Giants players, including the team's 2014 draft picks, speak with the media

"(Eli) messes with me all the time calling me a 'Greenie' (Newman's nickname) and stuff like that, how it's great to have another 'Greenie' on board, so I always joke with him about it."

When he's not renewing old acquaintances, Beckham is learning the Giants' offense and trying to prove to his new coaches and teammates that he deserves to play a prominent role on the 2014 Giants.

"I kind of teach myself by learning one spot and then learning the whole play as well," Beckham said. "That way you don't have to just play one spot, you can get substituted in here or there.

"I kind of taught myself the X (split end) right now and learned the Z (flanker) as well, so when they're in the two-minute and you don't switch sides, you know exactly what's going on. And then you move on to the inside because coach says he would love for me to go inside and do some things. Kind of just learning it all day by day."

Now in his second week with the team, Beckham's early reviews are positive.
"It's been great," he said. "I've been in the playbook just trying to get adjusted to things. It's a little different than the offense that I come from, so I'm still learning.

"It's going (to) a concept-type offense and then back at my school you had a digit system. Everything is a lot easier, you can just tell. You can line up and you tell somebody they have a number route and they'll know what to run instead of here, it's the whole concept of a play."

  • Center Weston Richburg, the team's second-round draft choice from Colorado State, has issues that are at once similar and different from Beckham's.

"The change in terminology right now is what I'm dealing with, that's the biggest change," he said. "The concepts of plays are the same, the concept of the offense is the same, it's just the terminology is so much different, so that's going to be the thing that I'm going to have to really pick up as quick as I can."

Richburg started 50 games in four seasons at CSU and was touted as being as "pro-ready" as any center in the draft.

"I don't know if anybody's pro-ready, because the players are so much better and faster and stronger," Richburg said. "I think there are some people that are more well-prepared than others. I'm coming in, I'm going to work hard just like I did in college and treat it like I did then. I'm going to have to earn what I want to get. That's kind of my mindset right now."

  • Defensive tackle Jay Bromley, the third-round choice from Syracuse, was a Giants fan growing up in Queens. Now he wears the team's No. 99 jersey.

"It's kind of surreal, the idea of having an opportunity," he said. "But every day I come out here and practice and it becomes more and more real. The guys in front of me, I want to learn from them and get better. I just want to add to what the D-line is in New York City as far as the New York Giants and that's a lot of pressure."

Pressure is what Bromley hopes to put on Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III and the other NFL quarterbacks he will face.

"I want to get to the quarterback, first and foremost," he said. "But I know in order to do that, you have to stop the run, which I know I'm more than capable of doing. I have great guys around me to teach me that like (Cullen) Jenkins and Mike Patterson. Those guys have helped me out a lot by watching them, just like JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul and (Mathias) Kiwanuka, just run and get the quarterback and get to third down."

  • Like Beckham, fourth-round draft choice Andre Williams found many of his teammates eager to aid his transition to the NFL. The running back becomes the fourth former Boston College Eagle on the roster, joining Chris Snee, Mark Herzlich and Kiwanuka.

"Kiwi introduced himself to me and Herzlich sat down and had lunch with me and we just talked," Williams said. "They all just let me know that they're around for whatever I need. It's just really comforting to know that I'm coming from such a strong network. Like I said, it feels like I'm still home."

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