April 27, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith (far left), first round draft pick Justin Blackmon (second from left), owner Shad Khan (second from right) and head coach Mike Mularkey (far right) hold up a jersey during a press conference at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE
With every NFL draft pick there is a certain bust factor, especially when that draft pick is taken in the Top 10, or in the case of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Justin Blackmon, in the Top 5. Wide receivers in general tend to have a high bust rate, but that's not necessarily all the receivers fault. It's a position that's heavily reliant on another player to be productive, which is why so many wide receivers are kind of crazy (I think).
Over at SB Nation, Ryan Van Bibber took a look at some of the players taken in the first round who could have a high bust factor based on their skill set and the team that they went to.
Expectations are working against Blackmon. He is not in the same tier or talent as A.J. Green andJulio Jones, last year's top receivers, but he was drafted with the fifth pick. Blackmon had a great college career working mostly hitch routes in Oklahoma State's spread offense against so-so competition.
His maturity levels were called into question prior to the draft. I tend to give players the benefit of the doubt on those matters, but it is worth keeping an eye on early in his career. Jacksonville's quarterback situation is the biggest threat to Blackmon's development. Blaine Gabbert is fighting the bust label himself. In order to succeed, Blackmon needs a quarterback that can get him the ball.
Blackmon's hands are good enough that it should prevent him from being a total flop, but will people be happy with a possession receiver taken with the fifth pick in the draft?
As Van Bibber notes, the biggest thing working against Blackmon are the expectations of a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft. I think this expectations will be magnified exponentially in Blackmon's case, because many are looking at him as the savior, if you will, of the Jaguars passing game. A passing game that was the worst in the NFL last season.
As I mentioned pre-draft, like Van Bibber I struggle to see Blackmon being just a complete flop as a wide receiver, but at worst will probably be a solid possession receiver. Blackmon will need to be much more than that to be a success as the No. 5 overall pick, but until we see improvement from Blaine Gabbert, his own surroundings are working against him.