Oklahoma State Junior
Has good speed and burst. Does an excellent job accelerating and reaching top speed quickly. Allows him to separate and pull away from defenders on the slants and crossing routes. Coupled with his strength, makes him hard to jam at the line and is usually able to beat press coverage. Is a natural runner with the ball in his hands, able to switch hands, stiff arm, hurdle defenders, and plays with good balance and burst. Does a good job getting yards after the catch on the short routes. Has a good first after catch to bounce plays outside on the reverses and sweeps. Has the size and strength to break tackles and win in traffic. Has strong hands, and does a good job extending for most passes. Adjusts well to high throws and works the sideline well. Extends to make the diving grabs over the middle or along the sideline. Uses body well to shield defender and consistently wins in traffic. Shows ability to keep his hands tight in order to not tip the defender that the ball is coming and adjust accordingly. Willing to go over the middle at times and will take the hit and hang onto the ball. Has the size to be an effective blocker and usually hits his assignments. Particularly effective cut blocker. Plays with passion and will jaw with defenders and play to the crowd.
Doesn't have top-end speed to run by a lot of corners. Won't consistently pull away from defenders. Can be tentative about contact at times when going over the middle. Will give himself up after the catch and won't always finish runs if he's going to take a pop. Not super-explosive out of his cuts or when asked to change directions, and it shows when he's rounding off some of his routes. Doesn't do a great job securing the ball after the catch. Because of his strong hands, he'll hold it like a loaf of bread and it can lead to fumbles and ball security issues. WIll lose yardage at times trying to bounce the play outside after the catch. Inconsistent effort as a blocker, and mostly perfunctory there. Doesn't quite know how to use his size and strength to get position and can't consistently lock on when squaring up a corner. You can see his effort wane at times if he's not engaged in the offense. Can be a bit too much of a showboat at times and flashes diva-esque qualities.
Blackmon looked like he was on the verge of really giving Dez Bryant a run for his money as the top Cowboy receiver in recent memory, and a year ago seemed like he was poised to be on a level with players like A.J. Green and Julio Jones. While he lacks that sort of dynamic size/speed element to his game, he is a dynamic player. Unfortunately for him, so much of Oklahoma State's offense this past year was geared around the short pass, when he had much more opportunities as a sophomore to make plays down the field. He is a good vertical receiver, but because he doesn't have elite speed to run by most corners, a lot of his bread and butter on the next level will be the short and intermediate game. He has the makings of being one of the top possession wideouts in the league. Unlike Bryant, Jones, and Green, he's not the type of guy that you fear because he is lightning in a bottle with his explosive playmaking potential, it's more than he's a guy that is going to slowly bleed a defense to death.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/8) vs. Arizona: 12 targets, 11 rec., 128 yds (11.6 avg), 62 YAC (5.6 avg), 2 TDs, 1 drop; 1 key block
(9/24) at Texas A&M: 16 tgt, 11 rec., 120 (10.9 avg), 52 YAC (4.7 avg), 1 TD, 1 drop; 1 fumble, 1 key block, 1 penalty (false start)
(11/18) at Iowa St: 15 tgt., 10 rec., 94 yds (9.4 avg), 49 YAC (4.9 avg), 1 TDs, 0 drops
(12/3) vs. Oklahoma: 13 tgt., 10 rec., 95 yds (9.5 avg), 36 YAC (3.6 avg), 0 TDs, 0 drops; 1 key block
(1/2) vs. Stanford: 7 tgt., 4 rec., 139 yds (34.8 avg), 100 YAC (25.0 avg), 2 TDs, 1 drop
2011: 13 GP/12 GS, 122 catches, 1522 yds (12.5 avg), 18 TDs; 5 rush att., 59 yds, 11.8 avg, 0 TDs
2010: 12/10-111-1782-16.1-20; 4-77-19.3-1
2009: 13/4-20-260-13.0-2; 0-0-0.0-0
- suspended 1 game in 2010 after DUI arrest
Blackmon reminds me a bit of Terrell Owens with his frame and the way he moves and plays. Like Owens, I think he'll be more of a possession wideout at the next level than a guy that is going to make a ton of big plays. Another good comparison to the type of player he can be is Anquan Boldin, although I think Blackmon has a bit more suddeness to his game than Boldin. But like Boldin, he has the capacity to dominate lesser corners physically. He'll make big plays, particularly with his abilities after the catch. He's particularly good on slants and crossing routes because once the ball is in his hands, he can make things happen after the catch. But there are lapses to his game much like Owens. Like both of those guys, a lot of his success is going to come from playing in an offense that is going to throw the ball a lot to his side of the field. He's going to need a high yield player, but it can pay dividends because he's one of those guys that should have little issue catching 90-100 passes a year once he gets going. A lot of his success going forward will depend on how much better a route-runner he becomes. There is a bit of worry that he might not hit the ground running in the NFL and be an immediate impact receiver, but I have few doubts that with a year or so under his belt he'll start to adjust to the NFL game. I think he's a bit too much of a diva, and a bit too finesse at times for a guy with his size and strength, but I don't think any of these things make him a bad guy or soft by any means. And I think he's one of those guys that will respond to challenges from coaches and defenses and work hard to get better. Another player he reminds me a lot of is Michael Crabtree, but I think he's not quite the diva that Crabtree is/was, nor will he have as many lapses going forward as Crabtree seems to. Like Boldin or Roddy White, I don't know if teams are going to be scared of him because his explosive playmaking abilities, but I think he'll be one of those guys that will be very hard to contain, and will be a huge part of a team's offense because of it. And if he gets with a good quarterback and builds a rapport with him, I don't see him getting off to too slow a start in the pros, likely catching 50+ passes as a rookie. I think that hurt a player like Crabtree, going to the 49ers and not having the consistency at the quarterback position early on to really establish himself. He should have a long, productive career with many Pro Bowl seasons intermixed in them. I don't know if he'll be the elite receiver that Owens was in his prime, but the potential is there. But he's a relatively safe pick that you can be confident will be a solid No. 1 receiver, and certainly be among the Top 10-15 or so guys at his position.
Anquan Boldin, Ravens.
Blackmon brings a lot of the same skills and traits to the Falcons as Roddy White does. However, he's not as physical as White is as a blocker, although there is potential to develop him there. Obviously, there's almost no shot Blackmon winds up in Atlanta, but he's a player that could be a very good No. 3 right away, and probably make a player like White expendable by his second year. He won't be as good as White is today at that point, but he'll be a good starter much quicker than White was because he'll be going to an established team with a good quarterback and he won't have to hit the ground running right away, allowing him to grow into his role. Eventually as a Falcon Blackmon would be the similar highly productive, but not super-explosive go-to target to move the chains that White is today.
Blackmon isn't the elite wide receiver prospect that A.J. Green or Julio JOnes were a year ago. But he certainly is a good one, that is relatively safer than other top prospects like Dez Bryant or Michael Crabtree, because he has far less character issues. He's definitely worth a Top 15 pick, and because of his relative safety a team should have little issue using a Top 10 pick. But he may not have the ideal upside of a wide receiver that you'd prefer to get in the Top 5.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
After Catch: 8.0
Body Control: 8.5
Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2012 Draft.
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