Justin Blackmon will be the first WR taken in the 2012 NFL draft. Over the next few weeks, comparing the other WR's in the draft to Blackmon may help us determine which round the Jaguars should draft our WR's. Of course, the unknown is when the run on wide outs will begin. Today, I want to break down Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery.
Justin Blackmon, WR out of Oklahoma State is listed at 6'1 215 lb. He is 22 years old and has declared for the NFL as a Junior. As a Sophomore, Blackmon was named the 2010 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, the first receiver to earn the honor. On December 9, 2010, he was awarded the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. Blackmon also holds the NCAA records for most consecutive games gaining 100 Yards or More and most games gaining 200 Yards or more. Statistically, Blackmon caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns in 11 games during the 2010 regular season and also added a pair of scores with a 69-yard run and a blocked punt return. This performance earned him the 15th-best statistical season in NCAA history.
Blackmon finished the 2011 regular season with 113 catches for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns. He led the Big 12 and ranked second nationally in both receptions per game and total receptions. His 15 touchdown catches led the league and represented the third-highest total in the nation. For the second consecutive year, he earned the title of unanimous All-American. He emerged as the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver for the second consecutive season. He joins former Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree as the only players ever to win the Biletnikoff Award multiple times.
Blackmon announced at the Fiesta Bowl that he would declare for the NFL draft following a great performance with 8 catches for 186 yards 3 touchdown catches to bring his season total to 18 TD catches. He was also named the 2012 Fiesta Bowl offensive MVP.
Alshon Jeffery out of South Carolina is listed at 6'4 233 lb. He is 21 years old and he also declared for the draft as a Junior. As a Sophmore, Jeffery made 88 catches totaling 1,517 yards and 9 touchdowns including 8 games with 100 yards or more receiving, and a 108.4 yd/game average. Jeffery was named a Biletnikoff Award finalist, which he finished second behind Justin Blackmon. Jeffery was elected to the All-SEC team ahead of WR AJ Green, and was also selected as an All-American.
Jeffery was recognized at the beginning of the 2011 season by ESPN as the best overall player in the SEC. He was one of the top prospects for the 2012 NFL draft, ranked by Mel Kiper Jr., as the best wide receiver and number five player overall. Alshon showed up for the start of his Junior year out of shape, and a decline in numbers followed. He finished with 49 catches for 762 yards and 8 touchdowns. Partial blame for his decline in numbers is the changing of quarterbacks mid-season at South Carolina.
In the Capital One Bowl vs Nebraska, Jeffery had 4 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. Alshon was being covered by Alfonzo Dennard, the 24th ranked player in the NFL draft according to Scouts, inc. Both players were ejected from the game for fighting.
Obviously there is still the NFL Combine, pro days, and many interviews that will take place during the next couple of months. As it looks now, Blackmon has supplanted Jeffery as the top 5 pick, while Jeffery has fallen because of his lack of production and questionable weight problem. Size wise, Jeffery has 3-4 inches on Blackmon and about 25 pounds. Blackmon is much quicker and can take any pass for the distance, while Jeffery's strength is his size. Both receivers possess great hands and can go make a play on the ball.
I view Blackmon as a number 1 target in the NFL. He is fast (his 40 time is over rated because the kid does not get caught on the field), strong, and has that "it" that allows him to be a threat to score at any time. His height isn't ideal, as he is closer to 6'1 than 6'3 or 6'4.
At 6'4, Alshon is a threat in the red zone and his body makes him a tough guard for any corner. His hands are also some of the best around. Jeffery has huge question marks though, particularly his weight and speed. If he shows up to the combine looking like the 2010 version of Alshon, WATCH OUT! However, if he shows up looking like he did in September this past season, run far far away from this guy. Jeffery has the ability to be a number 1 in the NFL, but his lack of work ethic and weight could lead him to be a bust. That is something the combine and interview process will have to sort out.
Check out the Highlight links I planted in the article. Remember, Alshon Jeffery of 2010 was one of the most dominant receivers in the country. Blackmon stepped up and produced, and Alshon faded. Let's see how Alshon shows in the combine and see if he can return as a dominant player.
My honest opinion, Blackmon is a beast and is a notch above Jeffery. If Blackmon is gone and Jeffery is in 2010 shape and stays that way, we need to draft Jeffery with the 7th pick and give Gabbert a chance to succeed.
Let me know what you think! GO JAGS