As a red shirt sophomore in 2010 , Blackmon earned multiple All-American honors and was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (first time in 12 years a non-quarterback earned the title). In 2010, he posted 111 receptions for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs. His encore performance this season was no less spectacular as the Okie St junior hauled in 113 catches for 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Despite a midseason DUI arrest , the physical skills far outweigh the potential character concerns. His forty time at the combine could go a long way to dispel speed questions but there is no doubting his immense strength, hands, and potential as a future #1 WR at the next level.
MyNFLDraft.com profiles WR Justin Blackmon and compares his playmaking ability to pro bowlers Greg Jennings and Hakeem Nicks - not bad company.
WalterFootball.com compares Blackmon to Terrell Owens as both receivers have the size/speed/strength to dominate in the NFL despite character concerns.
Mock Draft 101 expects Blackmon to still be on the board when Washington selects at #6.
FANTASY FOOTBALL SPIN:
With the success enjoyed by AJ Green and Julio Jones in 2011, Blackmon has the skills to emerge as a solid WR2 regardless of where he lands in April’s draft (ok maybe not if he ends up in Jacksonville).
At 6’1, 210 pounds Blackmon has adequate size (although would benefit from being a few inches taller) and should be able to step right in his rookie season as a solid starting WR. His back to back 100+ catch seasons, elite skills in the red zone, and durability will have many GMs looking to trade up much like Atlanta did last April.
The following teams finished in the bottom 10 in the league in passing YPG (Jacksonville, Denver, St Louis, San Francisco, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland and Miami) and would all benefit from adding the consensus #1 WR in the 2012 draft class.
St Louis (#2 pick): St Louis could entertain offers from teams looking to trade up for RG3 but if they keep the pick their decision will be between OL Matt Khalil and WR Justin Blackmon both major areas of need for the Rams. The midseason trade for veteran Brandon Lloyd breathed some life back into the St Louis passing game but an upgrade is needed especially with Lloyd due to hit free agency. Danario Alexander, Danny Amendola, Austin Pettis and Brandon Gibson combine to form arguably the weakest WR corps in the league.
Minnesota (#3): The worst season in franchise history concluded with all everything RB Adrian Peterson suffering an ACL/MCL injury that could keep him out for the first 6 games of next season (if ends up on PUP list). Rookie QB Christian Ponder showed flashes of his potential but playing behind a weak O-line and with limited talent at the WR he was positioned to fail in his first season. The loss of Sidney Rice (signed with Seattle) left a major hole in the Vikings red zone passing game. Percy Harvin had a breakout season but remains best used in the slot. Pairing Harvin and Blackmon together would give the Vikings a chance to stretch the defenses and open up more running lanes for a ground game that saw a lot of 8-man in the box defenses in 2011.
Cleveland (#4): Cleveland’s passing game ranked 24th in the league and their leading WR was rookie Greg Little (61 catches for 709 yards) who at times looked like he was allergic to the football (ranked among the league leaders in dropped passes). The Browns might need to move on from Colt McCoy as RG3 has been mentioned as a possibility. Whether the go the free agent route or via the draft – adding a playmaking WR is a must before next season if they hope to get out of the basement of the AFC North. The expected loss of free agent RB Peyton Hillis (averaged 40 catches the past two seasons) will also further necessitate the need for an upgrade at WR.
Washington (#6): Mike Shanahan holds the #6 pick and could go in a number of directions as the skins need upgrades at the QB, RB, and WR positions. Washington’s WR corps needs a shot of youth. Santana Moss (32 year sold) signed a 3 year contract but struggled in his 11th season (just 46 catches for 584 yards) and 31-year-old Jabar Gaffney is a possession WR at this point of his career. TE Fred Davis and WR Justin Blackmon just might be able to make John Beck look like a borderline USFL Quarterback.
Tampa Bay (#7) - Perhaps no team fell off a cliff as dramatically as the Bucs in 2011 which ultimately cost Raheem Morris his job (now the DB coach in Washington). WR Mike Williams improved in the 2nd half of the season and finished with 65 catches for 771 just edging out TE Kellen Winslow for the team lead in receiving yardage. Second year WR Arrelious Benn battled a knee injury but could be in line to start ahead of Preston Parker if the Bucs are unable to add a more talented to their WR corps. The Bucs have more pressing needs on the defensive side of the ball but if Blackmon slips to #7 they may decide to go with the best player available.