During his tenure as general manager, with year four ensuing as we speak, Gene Smith has shown the propensity to move up and snatch a player he is targeting. In 2009 Gene traded a 2010 second rounder to snag Derek Cox in the third round. In 2011, Gene traded a second round pick to move up in the first round and draft his franchise quarterback, Blaine Gabbert. Now Gene traded a fourth round pick to move up two spots and select Justin Blackmon.
Gene isn’t afraid to make a bold move and this certainly qualifies. Many people, me included, didn’t think Blackmon was a top 5 player in this draft. I thought the gap between Blackmon and the next 3 or 4 receivers wasn’t massive and the Jaguars could have picked up a solid receiver later in the first by trading back and acquiring another pick in the top 60.
Nonetheless, this move significantly upgrades the Jaguars’ offense. Laurent Robinson is not a true number one receiver, and the addition of Blackmon should take some of load not only off Robinson’s shoulders, but it should ease the burden on Maurice Jones-Drew. If Blackmon, Robinson, and Lee Evans can produce, MoJo shouldn’t be running into very many stacked (8-man) boxes.
I would give this grade an A, but I’m not convinced Blackmon can become a perennial all-pro receiver in the mold of Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, or Andre Johnson. Regardless, the Jaguars need to take what they can get, even if he ends up being a better version of Anquan Boldin.
First Round: Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State
I seriously couldn’t find a picture of Blackmon catching the ball where he didn’t make a hilarious face. He doesn’t give a fuhhh.
Tonight the Jaguars select 6th in the second round and there are still plenty of talented prospects available. Having addressed their need at WR, the Jaguars can now attempt to address their need for a pass rusher and cornerback depth. Below are some of the top prospects left:
- Coby Fleener, TE Stanford
- Reuben Randle, WR LSU
- Peter Konz, C Wisconsin
- Janoris Jenkins, CB North Alabama
- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
- Devon Still, DT Penn State
- Josh Robinson, CB UCF
- Andre Branch, DE Clemson
The Jaguars should have a few players on the board at 38 that can provide an immediate impact. Andre Branch should still be on the board at 38 when the Jaguars pick, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up being the selection. Gene and company will have to think long and hard however if Randle or Hill is still available, even with having chosen Blackmon in the first.
Second round prediction: Andre Branch, DE Clemson