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Where does Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon rank in this year’s draft?

Is he in the same class as Julio Jones and A.J. Green from year ago? National Football Post

December 09, 2011
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The Breakdown.

What I like…

BlackmonICONBlackmon has an ideal frame.

- The overall physical make-up of his frame. He’s a big kid who possesses good length, strong hands and a compact body. Nothing leggy about it.

- Showcases a savvy off the line vs. press coverage. Changes speeds, looks off corners and exhibits natural change of direction skills to quickly get into his route.

- Possesses a good first step out of his breaks and reaches top end speed quickly.

- Knows how to work the three-step game, puts the corner on his hip and does a nice job boxing out the defender away from the football.

- Uses his length well to pluck the football off his frame and secure the catch. Is a natural plucker who does a very good job of snatching the football

- Exhibits excellent body control and coordination when asked to adjust and go make a play on the throw. Balances himself well down the field, fends off contact and explodes well vertically in order to win at the highest point in jump ball situations.

- Displays a natural feel near the sideline. Exhibits good field awareness and knows how to walk a tight rope and get his feet down.

- Demonstrates a physical element to his game after the catch. Uses his stiff-arm to fend off would be tacklers and also has the short area quickness/power to slip/break a tackle and accelerate into daylight.

- Displays natural balance and fluidity as a route runner. Can cleanly get out of breaks in the three-step game or on sharply breaking routes at the second level. His balance also shows up well when he needs to run through breaks quickly and find a soft spot in zone.

- Showcases impressive footwork for a bigger receiver, cleanly changing directions with good foot quickness and balance on any kind of double move.

- Tightens his route well out of his breaks when working back toward the quarterback, cutting down the angle of the defender in the process.

- Possesses the skill set to run the entire route tree and exhibits the ability to be effective lining up both inside and out.

- Showcases a decent effort blocking in the run game and has the size/athleticism to dominate.

- Has been extremely productive over the past two seasons, winning two straight Biletnikoff awards in the process.

- Is very competitive, wants to catch the football and has an obvious passion for the game.

What I don’t like…

BlackmonICONBlackmon isn't ever going to simply outpace NFL defensive backs.

- There is no real second gear to his game. He doesn’t have the ability to run away from defenders vertically.

- Concentration issues tend to pop up from time to time and he will put the football on the ground when working in traffic.

- Doesn’t consistently extend his arms when working underneath game, lets the ball too often get into his frame and will give defenders the opportunity to get their hands on the football.

- Isn’t going to run away from anyone in the open field. Runs some reverses at Oklahoma State and his lack of top-end speed shows up the way defenders quickly close down his angles.

- Gets a little gun shy at times working the middle of the field with defenders bearing down on him. Isn’t afraid to work the middle, but I wouldn’t say he’s fearless either, as he will get caught peeking at defensive backs.

- Isn’t the type of dominant downfield blocker his skill set says he should be at the college level. Can be shed at times too easily for my liking.

- There are some character concerns both on and off the field. Was suspended for one game in 2010 due to a mid-season DUI.

Overall, from a talent perspective I think Blackmon is one of the safest prospects in this year’s draft. He’s a strong kid with long arms, “plus” body control and knows how to go get the football. Plus, there is a savvy about his game as a route runner, he showcases the balance/fluidity to cleanly get out of his breaks and has the skill set to beat pressman at the next level.

The lack of straight-line speed will limit him however, and when comparing him to first round receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones last year, I don’t think he’s in their class. Nevertheless, he’s got the skill set to line-up all over an NFL offense and make plays on all levels of the field.

The character concerns aren’t ideal, however the guy does have a passion for the game and the character/diva concerns almost come with the territory now of being a top end receiver prospect.

Follow me on twitter: @WesBunting

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