Justin Blackmon was the major holdout from the 2012 NFL draft class. The kid is the last to sign with his team and has reportedly had some issues over language that would protect the Jaguars in case he happened to drink too much again and then decide to drive. Having two DUIs on your record heading into the NFL is usually not a situation that high-character teams like the Jaguars want, but the skills and attitude of Blackmon on the field are tough to deny.
The Jaguars are in transition. They are moving from a strong running game to a more conventional balanced game with the pass being a highlight of the offense rather than the red-headed step child of the running game. Part of that transition is taking Maurice Jones-Drew’s team and making it Blaine Gabbert’s team. Gabbert has struggled but could use his physical tools to be an effective passer. Last year he had issues with a receiving corps that wouldn’t make a high school squad. Enter Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon is not the only new receiver for the Jags. They also brought in Laurent Robinson (Dallas) and Lee Evans (Baltimore) to help rejuvenate the wide receiver position. But make no mistake, it will be Blackmon who will challenge to be the face of the franchise. Blackmon is young, he’s practically synonymous with super star in Oklahoma, and he knows how to take a catch and make it look like some gold medal winning dismount. He’s got the little bit of je ne sais quoi that so many players simply do not possess. As his star rises, so will the Jaguars, and so will Blaine Gabbert.
With Jones-Drew holding out, every player in the passing game has an opportunity to make himself a crucial part of the rebuilding of the Jaguars. Any one of the receivers, Brian Robiskie, Robinson, Kevin Elliott, could be the new face. Blackmon just has the best shot. The man has skills that allow him to outplay defenders, he has a smile on his face as he plays, and he comes to town as the best wideout drafted by the Jaguars since Matt Jones (oh wait…).
But seriously, the guy will be a catalyst for better play by the Jaguars receivers. The team is perceived by some as having a glut at the position this offseason but the offense has still struggled to make the jump thus far. Blackmon will force the other receivers to be on their game as his elevated play will bring the entire field to new heights. Blackmon isn’t just a game changer, he’s a roster changer. His presence changes the way the team will approach practice and approach beating defenses.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft 2012 NFL Draft Selections Blaine Gabbert Justin Blackmon Justin Blackmon Arrest Justin Blackmon Contract Justin Blackmon DUI Justin Blackmon Signed Laurent Robinson Lee Evans Maurice Jones-drew Maurice Jones-Drew Contract Maurice Jones-Drew Holdout Shahid Khan