Justin Blackmon: Bold Predictions for Stud WR's NFL Career

Sean DelorgeCorrespondent IIIApril 26, 2012

Justin Blackmon will be a stud WR for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Justin Blackmon will be a stud WR for the Jacksonville Jaguars.Al Bello/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Justin Blackmon with the fifth pick in the draft to be their stud wide receiver and Blaine Gabbert’s go-to target for years to come.

Blackmon will be a stud wide receiver because he is physically gifted and has shown the drive to be great at the next level. He draws comparison to former Pro-Bowl receiver Terrell Owens because of his strength and size. Owens, 6’3”, is taller than Blackmon, who at 6’1” relies on elite jumping ability to catch jump balls.

Similar to Owens, Blackmon is a great route runner and that will help him make a smooth transition to more complex NFL offenses. He is a tough physical receiver with above average speed and great body control, which helps him fight for jump balls near sidelines and in the end zone. Like Owens, he is always a threat to make a big play.

What makes Blackmon standout in college isn’t just his tenacity as a receiver, but he is also an extremely good blocker and the Jaguars and running back Maurice Jones-Drew will appreciate that. His willingness to block shows his desire to be a team player. Unlike some diva receivers, there aren’t any concerns about Blackmon’s character.

He instantly becomes the No. 1 receiver on the Jaguars. He may struggle at first adjusting to better NFL cornerbacks, yet his strength and tenacity will help make his transition easier than most rookie receivers.

Blackmon’s physicality will help him at the next level where teams utilize press-coverage more often. Unlike most young receivers, He is extremely strong and will fight through jams and release quickly before safeties can come over and provide help. This also allows him to create in space before help arrives. One thing that Blackmon excels at is making plays once he is in space.

He may not be the tallest receiver, but because he is only 6’1” he has a lower center of gravity and moves more like a running back. This increases his ability to turn short catches into first downs.

While Blackmon didn’t run at the combine, he showed off his speed by running a 4.46 40-yard dash at his pro day. There were concerns that he would run slower, but he silenced the critics by running a very respectable time for a receiver of his size. The speed he showed running the 40-yard dash solidified what most scouts saw on tape.

Blackmon’s size helps when he runs across the middle and fights through larger linebackers. The commitment to run both inside and outside routes will open up more opportunities for him to take advantage of his great after-the-catch ability. He fights off tackles well and has good burst once he catches the ball allowing him to turn first-down catches into big plays.

The last two seasons at Oklahoma State, Blackmon had 232 catches for 3,304 yards. The back-to-back great seasons shows he was able to thrive when double-teamed and even after teams developed schemes based around shutting down Oklahoma State’s best player.

He also showed that he could perform consistently in a tough conference that produces NFL players, alleviating the concern that he is a product of playing against lesser competition.

Blackmon also has great hands and quick feet making him ideal for screen plays where he can take advantage of his playmaking ability. His ability to run any route in the playbook will make Gabbert’s job a whole lot easier in 2012.

In less than two years, we will be talking about Blackmon as one of the better receivers in the NFL. The Jaguars selection of him will only help Gabbert become a franchise quarterback. If the Jaguars can get a couple more weapons to go along with Blackmon and Jones-Drew, then they can quickly turn around one of the league’s worst offenses.

Blackmon is a step in the right direction for a team that lacks star power. Overall, he has all the tools needed to go along with a first-class drive to become a stud receiver in the NFL.