I can’t remember a draft pick for the Jaguars that was a universally liked as their choice of Justin Blackmon. Perhaps when they picked Fred Taylor but outside of that, it seems that every other pick was greeted with some skepticism. Certainly there were complete busts in R.J. Soward, Reggie Williams, Derrick Harvey and Matt Jones. And there have been some iffy picks like Reggie Nelson and Tyson Alualu.
Blackmon is a whole different story.
He’s a player other teams wanted. He’s considered elite. He’s big enough at 6’1″ and 207 lbs, he’s fast enough at just under 4.5 in the 40 but it’s his attitude that changes the equation.
“He has an edge,” Head Coach Mike Mularkey said right after making the selection. “I like the fact that he comes to the line of scrimmage and says ‘Nobody can cover me.'”
Blackmon fits a need the Jaguars clearly have on offense, upgrading the wide receiver position and hoping to give help to Blaine Gabbert. Add him to off-season acquisitions Lee Evans and Laurent Robinson and all of the sudden the Jaguars have a passing game that looks like something the NFL will have to pay attention to.
That is if Gabbert develops the way everybody in the Jaguars organization hopes.
It’s hard to believe that General Manager Gene Smith would be willing to part with a draft pick to move up in the first round but he says it’s easier when you’re moving up to get a starter. “He’s a player we coveted and the way things came together we were able to get a very good football player,” Smith said in his usual understated style.
From New York by phone, Blackmon said he expects to come to town and get to work. “I’ll go over the middle, I’ll be the guy who’s working hard.”
He’s not a stretch by any definition, he fills a need the Jaguars have, and he creates a buzz for the Jaguars fans, waiting for what he might be able to do.