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Julian Blackmon NFL Draft 2020: Scouting Report for Indianapolis Colts' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 25, 2020

Utah defensive back Julian Blackmon (23) stands on the field during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State in Pullman, Wash., Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

Julian Blackmon, Utah

   

STRENGTHS

—Versatile, coverage safety who excelled over the last three years in a tough Utah defense. 

—Lived around the ball in 2019 with four INTs and five passes defensed.

—Played all over the defense and fits the modern profile of a safety; can play free safety but has lined up in the box and at slot corner.

—Previous experience at cornerback helps with coverage instincts and technique.

—Has the range to run over the top and take away the deep passing game.

  

WEAKNESSES

—Suffered a knee injury in December that shut him down for the predraft process.

—Weak tackler who didn't impress on tape coming downhill.

—Cornerback play in 2018 wasn't a strength; shouldn't be viewed as a potential NFL-caliber cornerback.

—Doesn't have enough play power to be effective in press situations; would be beaten up by tight ends if asked to cover at the line of scrimmage, and strong route-runners will press him off coverage. 

—Doesn't have the awareness in zone coverage to play right away; could be a developmental player.

   

OVERALL

Blackmon is intriguing with his background as a cornerback and versatility in the secondary, but he must improve his strength and his read-and-react skills to crack a starting lineup. With a question surrounding his knee injury due to a lack of predraft workouts or physicals, Blackmon could be found later in the draft than expected given his potential to work into the lineup as a third safety or nickel cover man.

   

GRADE: 69

PRO COMPARISON: Terrence Brooks/Eric Murray

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