No Justin Blackmon For The Jaguars, But No Disaster

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MAY 05: Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #14 during Jacksonville Jaguars Minicamp at EverBank Field on May 5, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)

Justin Blackmon is the last unsigned player from the 2012 NFL Draft. Of course, he is also the only player that has been arrested for aggravated DUI since that draft.

Blackmon's absence has been treated by several national writers as a horrible development. However, a closer look at the situation reveals that this holdout, though frustrating to fans, should not be unexpected and is definitely not a disaster.

I can only assume that those that are pessimistic about Blackmon's absence must see him as the most important piece of the Jaguars receivers for the coming year. That is a nice thought, but how often does even a first-round pick come in and lead his team in receiving?

A J Green did last year, but he was one of only two first round receivers in the last seven years to achieve this feat.

First Round Draft Pick WRs

Year

Player

Rec Yards

Led Team?

2011

AJ Green

1057

Yes

2011

Julio Jones

959

No

2011

Johnathan Baldwin

254

No

2010

Demaryius Thomas

283

No

2010

Dez Bryant

561

No

2009

Darrius Heyward-Bey

124

No

2009

Michael Crabtree

625

No

2009

Jeremy Maclin

762

No

2009

Percy Harvin

790

No

2009

Hakeem Nicks

790

No

2009

Kenny Britt

701

Yes

2007

Calvin Johnson

756

No

2007

Ted Ginn, Jr.

230

No

2007

Dwayne Bowe

995

No

2007

Robert Meachem

Did not play

No

2007

Craig Davis

188

No

2007

Anthony Gonzales

576

No

2006

Santonio Holmes

824

No

2005

Braylon Edwards

512

No

2005

Troy Williamson

372

No

2005

Mike Williams

350

No

2005

Matt Jones

432

No

2005

Mark Clayton

471

No

2005

Roddy White

446

No

Certainly the Jaguars want Blackmon in camp and in the offense. His presence probably helps the other receivers and the rest of the offense in general. However, to consider his absence from the first week of training camp a disaster seems to be overstating rookie expectations. Before the draft many analysts claimed that Blackmon was not as good as the 2011 picks, Green and Jones. Now that he has been drafted those expectations shouldn't change, should they?

Of course the spotlight is on Blackmon since he is the last unsigned pick. He has missed enough that Coach Mike Mularkey said that he will be behind and it will be noticeable. However, just because there are fewer holdouts under the current CBA doesn't mean the Jaguars should hurry to make a deal that will make the team uncomfortable. This team endured a 33-day holdout with Derrick Harvey in 2008. In that situation the Jaguars said they weren't budging in their offer and they didn't. Harvey certainly didn't have any of the perceived danger of DUI problems that Blackmon has during negotiations, so why would the Jaguars budge now? Since Gene Smith has taken over as the General Manager, none of the draft picks have been in camp on day one of practice.

Jaguars First Round Draft Picks 2009 - 2011

Year

Player

Days of missed practice

2011

Blaine Gabbert

2 days

2010

Tyson Alualu

4 days

2009

Eugene Monroe

11 days

The Jaguars have shown that they are confident in their negotiations in their stance with Maurice Jones-Drew and his contract situation. Jones-Drew is the team's best player with no character concerns. If they are not blinking in his contract situation, why would anyone expect them to blink with Blackmon? In the Jaguars' eyes, the disaster would be giving a rookie a four-year contract that would make the team and owner Shad Khan unhappy.

It would appear that Blackmon knows the Jaguars position at this time and he will have to decide when he wants to accept it and show up to camp.

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