Is Justin Blackmon the NFL's Best Rookie Wide Receiver?

Lou RomContributor INovember 18, 2012

November 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon (14) makes a reception during the first quarter as Houston Texans strong safety Glover Quin (29) defends at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Justin Blackmon had a breakout game Sunday against the tough Houston Texans, catching seven passes for a whopping 236 yards.

Blackmon and backup quarterback Chad Henne nearly led the Jaguars to the biggest upset of the week against the Texans before they fell 43-36 in overtime.

Coming into the game, Blackmon had a mere 250 yards through nine games. He had averaged a modest 9.6 yards per carry for one of the league's weakest passing games led by Blaine Gabbert.

But Gabbert went down early in the game, replaced by Henne, who threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

Prior to Sunday, Blackmon had impressed season-long with his toughness, ability to break tackles, durability and willingness to break from a route and come back for the ball if he had to.

Blackmon's breakaway speed and his leaping ability were well-known coming into the 2012 draft, but had not resulted in many highlight-reel catches. 

Until Sunday. On Sunday, with a competent quarterback leading the way, Blackmon displayed that and then some, averaging a stunning 33 yards per catch and a touchdown.

Which brings us to the big question: Is Blackmon, the Oklahoma State wideout, the best rookie wideout of 2012?

Blackmon's biggest competition comes from Tennessee's Kendall Wright, who, prior to Sunday's game, had caught 43 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns.

Next in line would be the Rams' Chris Givens, who's been good for 13 catches for  333 yards and two touchdowns.

Beyond those three, the 2012 receiving class has been a disappointment.

Michael Floyd has just over 200 yards through 10 games for the Arizona Cardinals. LSU standout Rueben Randle? A non-factor in New York. Alshon Jeffrey? respectable, but no threat.

As of Sunday, Blackmon—who was clearly the cream of the crop coming into the draft—has delivered on the promise of his high selection.

Blackmon now has 486 yards receiving on 33 catches with one touchdown and a long of 81 yards. The Titans' Wright could still beat him out by the end of the year, but after Sunday's amazing performance, it's hard to argue with Justin Blackmon as the No. 1 rookie wide receiver in the NFL this year.