The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without wide receiver Justin Blackmon for the first four games of the 2013 NFL season, as he's been suspended by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy. This means the team will be without it's leading receiver from the 2012 season for the first four games, which will likely have a negative effect on an offense that struggled to move the football in 2012.
The Jaguars will start the season against the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, two games that most Jaguars fans consider "winnable" right now, but the loss of Blackmon can put a big damper on that.
Blackmon finished the 2012 season with 64 receptions for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns, including finishing out the final quarter of the season with 25 receptions. Blackmon was starting to become a reliable cog in an offense that struggled and now he's going to be out early in the year and will be behind the pace when he gets back.
The Jaguars seemed to know the suspension was coming, as their selection of Ace Sanders now makes it obvious they knew.
So who's going to replace Blackmon early in the season opposite Cecil Shorts III?
The early candidate would appear to be free agent acquisition Mohamad Mossaquoi, who the Jaguars signed to a two-year deal prior to the NFL Draft. The other options could be rookie Ace Sanders, Jordan Shipley, or Taylor Price, but it's just going to be another position of competition in camp and the preseason.
I would imagine in training camp and the preseason, Blackmon's reps will be surrendered to the other players who will actually be playing in the first four games of the season, but that remains to be seen.