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    College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?
    By Bucky Brooks NFL.com
    Published: Nov. 14, 2011 at 07:17 a.m.
    Updated: Nov. 14, 2011 at 10:34 p.m.

    Each Monday throughout the college football season, NFL.com draft expert Bucky Brooks will share his notes and evaluations on potential NFL prospects for the 2012 draft and beyond. An asterisk (*) denotes players who aren't seniors.

    Justin Blackmon* is the best receiver in college football. In fact, he might be the best receiver in all of football. While fans of Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson will certainly disagree with my opinion, the Oklahoma State star is one of the best receiving prospects in years.

    At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Blackmon is an athletic playmaker with size and ball skills. He tracks and adjusts well to errant throws, and provides quarterbacks with a big target who can go up and get the ball. Although he is only a junior, he's extremely polished as a route runner and is an explosive threat with the ball in his hands. His running skills evoke images of Terrell Owens in his prime. Part of that assessment is based on Blackmon's dominance over the past two seasons. He had 111 receptions for 1,782 yards with 20 touchdowns in 2010, and has snagged 93 balls for 1,142 yards with 14 scores so far this season. He has 18 games with 100-plus receiving yards and 10 games with 10-plus receptions over the past two years.

    It's hard to find a glaring flaw in Blackmon's game outside of pure speed. Although he's fast enough to stretch the field on vertical routes, he doesn't appear to have sub-4.4 speed based off tape evaluation. However, he's never caught from behind when he breaks out and the fact that he routinely gets past defenders suggests his explosiveness shouldn't be a concern.

    Virginia Tech's David Wilson* is college football's best-kept secret at running back. The 5-10, 205-pound junior has rushed for 100-plus yards in nine of the Hokies' 10 games, and is coming off a 23-carry, 175-yard performance against Georgia Tech.

    Wilson is a cutback runner with speed and quickness. He has the burst to turn the corner, but also the agility to put his foot in the ground and dart through seams. He also shows surprising power and toughness between the tackles. Wilson routinely breaks arm tackles at the point of attack, and has a knack for falling forward at the end of runs.

    While some will question Wilson's durability due to his size, the fact that he has seven games with 20-plus carries this season suggests he's capable of carrying the load. With smaller backs like Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy setting the pace in the NFL, it wouldn't be surprising to see Wilson create more buzz going forward.


    Word on the street

    After spending most of the season regarded as one of the top linebackers in college football, Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict* is seeing his stock take a bit of a tumble due to character concerns and questions about his ability to play within a disciplined scheme. Two NFC scouts cited issues with Burfict's off-field habits as potential sticking points. Although the issues don't regard the law, they are significant enough to wonder if Burfict can assimilate in a veteran locker room. Also, the more evaluators have studied his game, the more they worry about him thriving in a gap-control scheme that limits his ability to freelance in the middle.

    With the 2012 defensive tackle class lacking depth, scouts are paying close attention to Utah's Star Lotulelei*. According to an NFC South scout who recently visited Utah, the 6-3, 325-pound defensive tackle is a rare find. He's stout against the run, capable of holding the point, while also displaying the athleticism to get after the passer. Although he still needs a little skill refinement, Lotulelei has all of the tools that scouts covet in a dominant interior defender.


    Stock up

    Robert Griffin III*, Baylor, QB: He continues to put up spectacular numbers, throwing for 400-plus yards in three of the past four games with an impressive 29/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio on the season. In Baylor's 31-30 win over Kansas, Griffin passed for 312 yards, rushed for 103 and added four total touchdowns. With stellar all-around performances becoming routine, it's not surprising scouts are beginning to take notice.

    Josh Kaddu, Oregon, DE: He's come on strong over the past five weeks, with 4.5 sacks during that span. His combination of first-step quickness and athleticism overwhelms blockers. That was obvious against Stanford, when he routinely raced around Jonathan Martin to harass Andrew Luck. Although Kaddu only recorded three stops and a half-sack, his steady pressure forced college football's top passer into an uneven performance and a loss.

    Fitzgerald Toussaint*, Michigan, RB: Since taking over as the feature back, he has posted two games with 170-plus yards rushing, including his 27-carry, 192-yard effort against Illinois. His rugged style has sparked Michigan's running game, and allowed the team to win without major contributions from Denard Robinson.


    Stock down

    Andrew Luck*, Stanford, QB: Even though Luck's stock will not drop significantly, the fact that he didn't bring his A-game in the team's matchup with Oregon will lead to more scrutiny. Luck completed 27 of 41 for 271 yards with three touchdowns and three turnovers. He generally looked out of sync as his ball placement, timing and anticipation were slightly off. The end result suggests Luck still needs to work on skill refinement from the pocket. His hesitancy might have been due to the tighter coverage and increased pressure he faced against Oregon, but he was certainly off by his standards. Scouts will spend a lot of time looking at this tape searching for answers.

    David Ash* and Case McCoy*, Texas, QBs: The tandem combined for just 171 passing yards in a 17-5 loss to Missouri. Although the absence of three impact players -- Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Jaxon Shipley -- severely limited their available options, the inability of Ash and McCoy to generate any consistent production kept Texas from mounting many legitimate scoring threats.


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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Blackmon benefits from a college spread system that tends to inflate stats for receivers with great QB play as well. Since our system is familiar to what Blackmon is currently playing, he's hands down the best pick for us. I hope the Vikings either pick behind us or go after Alshon Jeffery knowing Blackmon is probably questionable in the WCO.

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Blackmon is unbelievable, almost unstoppable. IMO, he'll be an instant difference maker in the NFL.

    Burfict is a great athlete and talent, but he makes Suh look like a choirboy when it comes to committing stupid penalties. I've seen games where Burfict gets 4 or 5 personal fouls all by himself.

    Andrew Luck was pretty bad against Oregon, the first really top tier team he's faced this year. He regularly looked rattled and did not handle the Oregon pressure well. Still, it was only one game, and nobody's perfect.

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    I'm confused. Is this writer implying that Blackmon is a better player than those pros he listed? I think it's just written in a confusing way, but that's a pretty bold prediction, to say the least!

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    I'm confused. Is this writer implying that Blackmon is a better player than those pros he listed? I think it's just written in a confusing way, but that's a pretty bold prediction, to say the least!
    I think he's saying he might be, and that Blackmon is on par with those guys. I agree that's a pretty bold prediction and a bit premature at this point.

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Ive just watched tape on Blackmon, Jeffrey and Floyd. This Blackmon fella, is head and shoulders above the competition.? The Rams will be lucky to get their hands on this guy. Blackmon is what I call a true No.1 WR, from day one. The rest seem to be no where near as polished Blackmon in my opinion.?

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    I agree we must get Blackmon. The interesting question becomes, would we make a similar deal that Atlanta made this year to snag Julio Jones to ensure we get him. After all it appears from this that Blackmon is better than Jones or even AJ Green. Part of the answer will probably be at the Combine in February. I would say, yes make the deal.

    What say ye?

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    ive been on blackmon the whole time and said from the beginning of the season blackmon needs to be our pick.He is amazing and a beast that would be awesome to line up across Lloyd next year.He has the speed (not desean jackson speed but more than enough for WR)size,ball skills and knowledge of the spread offense.He fits our offense perfectly and Sam would have a field day.And not to mention the rest of our receivers will be in there comfort zone.In the 3/4 slots not starting.They will see the matchups with nickel and 4th corners not 1 and 2's so they might actually do something lol.Blackmon instantly makes our offense better from day 1.Picture the best of AJ and julio thats what he is rolled into 1.But if we have to make a Atlanta deal to land him im almost sure we dont and prlly end up going o line or maybe floyd.

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    3 major concers with Blackmon

    #1 Blocking in the run Game
    #2 Learning the pro-style route tree quickly
    #3 Undersized needs to show elite speed

    I still have Blackmon slightly ahead of Floyd for the Rams -- but its close....

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    i dont know why people are saying hes undersized. remember we had Holt and Bruce and they werent vertical threat wr's and werent speed demons as well. They had great hands, could catch off pass, and ran superb routes. theres lots of receivers who arnt tall as heck and dont have elite speed but still are great wr's. Blackmon also fits our scheme the most out of the 3 in my eyes, even though Jeffery and Floyd wouldnt be bad in our offense either. i Still prefer Blackmon right now, but would be happy with him or Jeffery as our 1st round pick, and would only take Floyd if we werent drafting in the top 10, or if he fell to the 2nd(which i dont see happening).


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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    i dont know why people are saying hes undersized. remember we had Holt and Bruce and they werent vertical threat wr's and werent speed demons as well. They had great hands, could catch off pass, and ran superb routes. theres lots of receivers who arnt tall as heck and dont have elite speed but still are great wr's. Blackmon also fits our scheme the most out of the 3 in my eyes, even though Jeffery and Floyd wouldnt be bad in our offense either. i Still prefer Blackmon right now, but would be happy with him or Jeffery as our 1st round pick, and would only take Floyd if we werent drafting in the top 10, or if he fell to the 2nd(which i dont see happening).
    You're right about Holt/Bruce not being speedsters or 6'5. But players like those 2 dont come around very often. Both were absolutely dedicated to the team and the sport, believed, were the highest character players a guy could ask for, and not to mention were extremely productive and both will be HOF'ers. Blackmon is also very good, but his attitude/preparation doesn't even come close to comparing with Holt and Bruce.

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    I always thought of Torry Holt as a speed receiver because he was usually able to get separation. As for Blackmon he appears to be a hard working kid who practices hard and is pretty smart. The one issue that Richtree didn't point out as a negative is that he is projected by some as best suited for a West Coast offense. At 6'1" he's not as tall as we might like, but he's got amazing leaping ability that will enable him to grab passes over most CB's. He's also got great body control that will allow him catch balls thrown behind him or to his sides. Lastly, he will easily conform to Spags and Devaney's 4 Pillars of good citizenship. We should be fortunate to get him.

    Go Rams!

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tampa_Ram View Post
    i dont know why people are saying hes undersized. remember we had Holt and Bruce and they werent vertical threat wr's and werent speed demons as well. They had great hands, could catch off pass, and ran superb routes. theres lots of receivers who arnt tall as heck and dont have elite speed but still are great wr's. Blackmon also fits our scheme the most out of the 3 in my eyes, even though Jeffery and Floyd wouldnt be bad in our offense either. i Still prefer Blackmon right now, but would be happy with him or Jeffery as our 1st round pick, and would only take Floyd if we werent drafting in the top 10, or if he fell to the 2nd(which i dont see happening).

    ^^ YOU ARE CORRECT !!!! but you said Holt / Bruce can great routes and had good hands....

    Blackmon hasn't run a full route tree or pro offense (never-mind the ultra-complex McDaniels offesnse)

    Also, his hands are somewhat suspect because he is usually open he doesn't make many tough grabs...nor does he have too....

    If you really want to get into Watching Wide Reciever tape -- watch Mario Mannigham and then watch Justin Blackmon -- there are lots of similarities...

    Mannigham and Blackmon both are great straight line players -- Blackmon's upside is greater because of his quickness.....

    Blackmon's 40 time and shuttle time can make him the #2 pick overall --- if not the power of Floyd and Jeffery could come into play.

    Also, Brandon Lloyd is very similar to Issac Bruce....So, a speedster would be a better compliment in my opinion (Blackmon) because today's NFL rules favor the WR so much

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    Re: College stock watch: Is Blackmon game's best receiver?

    Quote Originally Posted by richtree View Post
    ^^ YOU ARE CORRECT !!!! but you said Holt / Bruce can great routes and had good hands....

    Blackmon hasn't run a full route tree or pro offense (never-mind the ultra-complex McDaniels offesnse)

    Also, his hands are somewhat suspect because he is usually open he doesn't make many tough grabs...nor does he have too....

    If you really want to get into Watching Wide Reciever tape -- watch Mario Mannigham and then watch Justin Blackmon -- there are lots of similarities...

    Mannigham and Blackmon both are great straight line players -- Blackmon's upside is greater because of his quickness.....

    Blackmon's 40 time and shuttle time can make him the #2 pick overall --- if not the power of Floyd and Jeffery could come into play.

    Also, Brandon Lloyd is very similar to Issac Bruce....So, a speedster would be a better compliment in my opinion (Blackmon) because today's NFL rules favor the WR so much
    ive read a few places his route running has improved this year from last, and once he comes into the league its something that can be learned.but regardless, even though i want blackmon and think hes the best out of the 3, id take any if it came down to it.

    BLACKMON #1


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