NFL Draft 2012: Why Justin Blackmon Is the Most Overrated 1st-Round Prospect

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Justin Blackmon has been in the top five or six picks of most mock drafts since January. His 4.46 40 time after skipping the test at the combine made an even better argument for his spot there, and the St. Louis Rams, who are without a legitimate No. 1 (or even a No. 2) receiver being at the sixth spot just increases the likelihood that Blackmon ends up going that early. I don't dispute that it will happen, but I doubt the wisdom of taking a receiver like Blackmon that high in the draft.

While Blackmon is an ultra-productive receiver, he comes from a college spread offense that didn't ask him to get open and make plays in the way that he will have to in the NFL. He is not elite in some key areas that dictate how defenses will play him at the next level.

Speed: Blackmon doesn't play up to his 4.46 timed speed, and he won't draw over the top coverage or attention from safeties because of it. Most defenses have at least one or two defensive backs that will routinely keep Blackmon from getting behind them

Size: At 6'1", 215, Blackmon doesn't create the kind of size mismatch that could allow him to abuse a smaller NFL corner until the defense adjusts and puts a second defender in his zone. Defenses will try to hand Blackmon with one defensive back and probably not get punished for it.

Separation: Blackmon isn't sudden getting off the line, and he doesn't run precise routes. This will keep him from generating a large amount of separation, which will blunt the impact of one of his elite attributes: strong and inspired running after the catch.

Game Planning: Wide receivers create tactical advantages when they force double teams, or safety help, or seven in the box or otherwise force a defensive coordinator to devote extra resources to stopping them. Blackmon will still be a very productive NFL receiver, but he won't give his teammates extra room to operate, and that makes it hard to justify him as worthy of such a high pick.

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