Blackmon managed to stay out of trouble during the 2012 season, but found himself suspended for the first 4 games of 2013 for substance abuse. USA Today Sports

Offseason Analysis - Justin Blackmon

After taking a look at Blaine Gabbert’s performance in 2012, a natural sequel would be to see how his pass catchers performed. A perfect place to start is the Jaguars’ first round pick in 2012 – Justin Blackmon.

After trading up in the draft to select Blackmon with the fifth overall pick, Gene Smith and the rest of the front office were less than thrilled to see their first round pick get a DUI after the draft… before he had signed his contract. After basically giving away all his leverage in contract negotiations (even though there are very few anymore with the new collective bargaining agreement) Blackmon pledged to focus on football and stay out of trouble.

After struggling early in the season to make an impact, Blackmon started catching on about midway through the season, particularly after his breakout game against Houston.

Similar to my analysis with Gabbert, I decided to dissect one statistic that I feel is a good indicator of Blackmon’s progress throughout the season – yards per target.

Blackmon 2012 Yards per Target

Week

Targets

Yards

Yds/Tgts

Min

6

24

4

Hou

0

0

0

Ind

5

7

1.4

Cin

10

48

4.8

Chi

8

40

5

Oak

4

7

1.75

GB

8

67

8.375

Det

9

32

3.555556

Ind

5

25

5

Hou

14

236

16.85714

Ten

6

62

10.33333

Buf

6

9

1.5

NYJ

12

57

4.75

Mia

11

93

8.454545

NE

12

79

6.583333

Ten

13

79

6.076923

Formulating a regression line would show that Blackmon as a whole improved throughout the season, despite the wild fluctuations from game to game especially early on. He started out poorly, but he built on a solid performance against Green Bay and really came on after Henne took over for Gabbert. Also exciting was his ability to start all 16 games in his rookie season. His game against Houston showed his ability to make tough catches and gain extra yards after the catch. While he’ll never be an explosive threat to stretch the field, Blackmon looks like he can entrench himself as a reliable target for Blaine Gabbert or whoever is throwing him the ball for years to come.

- Daniel Lago

*Statistics from ESPN.com

Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89

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