3 Things Fantasy Owners, Jaguars Learned About Justin Blackmon After Week 11
Thanks, Justin Blackmon.
You further proved that the only thing predictable about the NFL is that it's wildly unpredictable.
The rookie Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver had 250 receiving yards on the season heading into a road contest against the mighty Houston Texans defense—another pedestrian and rather disappointing outing was expected.
Then, just as planned, he caught seven passes for 237 yards with a touchdown. With that, maybe even just for a week, he absolutely silenced his critics, the people ready to slap the bust label on him.
After his breakout game, what did Blackmon's fantasy owners and, just as importantly, the Jaguars learn about the guy they traded up to draft in the first round of the 2012 draft?
His hands are improving
Early in his NFL career, many skeptics of Blackmon pointed to his inconsistent hands as a reason why he'd never materialize into the player the Jaguars thought they were drafting at No. 5 overall.
But against the Texans, the former Oklahoma State receiver made a bundle of tough grabs down the field on passes from Chad Henne while covered tightly by Houston's cornerbacks.
Many of those grabs came not only when he was tightly covered, but they came when Blackmon could have been smacked by safeties coming down from the third level.
Obviously, the foundational aspect of becoming a productive wideout at the professional ranks is catching the football, and Blackmon boosted his confidence in that regard in Week 11.
He isn't afraid to go across the middle
As alluded to regarding to his improvement catching the football, Blackmon didn't shy away from contact in any way against a vicious Texans defense.
On his 81-yard touchdown reception, three Houston defenders were converging on him, and it didn't phase him.
He calmly snagged the ball with his hands, not his body, bounced off the would-be tacklers and hit the jets.
Which leads me to my next point.
He has breakaway speed
Has Justin Blackmon arrived?
No, Blackmon will never be utilized as a straight downfield threat, but he demonstrated the YAC ability that made him a two-time Biletnikoff award winner.
Because of his bigger, chiseled frame, he's not the easiest receiver to bring to the turf.
But due to his long-striding running style, Blackmon is deceptively fast, and once he gets to top speed in the open field, he's hard to catch.
On all of his long grabs, Blackmon appeared comfortable running his routes, going up and snatching the football and refusing to be tackled by one defender.
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