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Fantasy Players - Rookie Watch
By Mike Beacom

Rookie Watch – Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

By Mike Beacom

In need of offensive firepower, the Jaguars used the fifth pick in April on Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, who collected 232 receptions in his final two years on campus. The pick was well received until off-the-field issues caught up to the wideout. He was charged with driving under the influence in June and pleaded guilty in July (Blackmon had also been arrested for DUI in 2010).

Few debate he is the most talented wide receiver in this draft class, only if he ended up in the most favorable environment. The Jaguars ranked dead last in passing yards and yards per attempt last year, and ranked second-to-last in touchdown passes and completion percentage.

Dissecting the depth chart: Most would expect Blackmon to slide into the No. 1 spot, but his inexperience and the DUI arrest could hold him back. The team picked up journeyman Laurent Robinson, who scored 11 touchdowns for Dallas last year. Robinson should give second-year QB Blaine Gabbert a steady presence in the passing game, allowing Blackmon time to mature. Lee Evans hasn’t been relevant for some time, and Mike Thomas failed to rise to the challenge when handed the No. 1 job last year.

Just the stats: Blackmon shattered Dez Bryant’s totals at Oklahoma State, having recorded more than 3,300 yards in his final two seasons combined. He caught 20 touchdowns in 2010 and 18 last year, including three against Stanford in his final collegiate performance (Fiesta Bowl). In all, Blackmon had 12 multi-touchdown games the past two seasons. He was never held under 100 yards in a game during the 2010 season.

2012 Projection: 50 receptions, 800 yards, 6 TDs.

2011 rookie comparison: Doug Baldwin
Insulted? Maybe Baldwin was better than you remember from last year, or perhaps you think too highly of Blackmon? Regardless, the comparison is just. Both are part of a rag-tag passing game where outside factors limit their fantasy success. Baldwin caught 51 balls for a Seattle team that attempted just 509 passes last year, whereas Blackmon must succeed on a team with few proven weapons.

Interesting fact that won’t help you: Blackmon was elected Plainview High School’s 2008 senior class president even though he says he didn’t put his name on the ballot.

What he’s worth: He’s a solid No. 4 receiver in most fantasy leagues, but don’t expect to get him there. Due to his top 5 draft pick status, fantasy owners are banking on him to be a No. 3 (or fringe No. 2) receiver in most leagues.

Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for
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