After a banner year in 2011, the Oklahoma State Cowboys also had plenty to be proud of after the NFL Draft had been completed. Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden and Markelle Martin were the three Cowboys taken in the draft this season.
While other Cowboys like James Thomas, Jamie Blatnick, Richetti Jones and Josh Cooper were signed to free-agent contracts, it will be the three drafted players with the best opportunities to affect their teams immediately.
More than likely Weeden and Blackmon will both start immediately, while Martin may have to fight his way onto the field. Here's the breakdown of each and a prediction on who will have the best rookie season.
Justin Blackmon fills an immediate need for the Jaguars and will definitely start immediately, barring an injury. Unlike many first-round wide receiver picks, Blackmon is not a deep threat playmaker, but rather a short to intermediate receiver who runs great routes and can catch anything.
Blaine Gabbert struggled last year and that could hurt Blackmon. However, the addition of Blackmon could prove that Gabbert merely needed a decent wide receiver all along.
No one could deny that Brandon Weeden has the talent to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. While his age is a question, it wasn't a big enough one for the Browns to care.
Weeden is learning a new offensive system, but he has the maturity and the arm to potentially thrive in Cleveland's West Coast offense. Colt McCoy has the benefit of two years in that system, but he may not be able to compete with Weeden based strictly on talent.
There isn't much for Weeden to work with even if he does get the starting job. The Browns needed receiver help and didn't get much, although it will be nice to get to hand the ball off to Trent Richardson.
Markelle Martin got drafted much lower than his other Cowboy compadres, and the main reason was probably his history of knee injuries. That being said, Martin is still a great talent and could be a steal this low in the draft.
The free safety has great speed and can close on the ball quickly for big hits. He does have a tendency to gamble too much at times and may be able to be beaten deep at first in his career.
Martin is talented though and may see the field much sooner than people think.
Justin Blackmon will have the best rookie season of these three. It's a close race between him and Brandon Weeden, but ultimately Weeden will have a tough time in a new offense with a lackluster squad that has to face Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore twice each.
Markelle Martin will make an impact at the next level, but it will take time—more time than just one season. It will be interesting to see if he gets to face Blackmon, since both were drafted into the same division.
Blackmon is the type of receiver that can easily nab 90 catches because of how well he runs his routes and how good his hands are. The fact that Laurent Robinson, a big free-agent acquisition for the Jags, is there to draw away coverage will also help.