Jacksonville takes OSU's Blackmon with fifth pick of NFL Draft
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Thursday, April 26, 2012
4/26/12 at 9:52 PM
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded up to address a need, making Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon the fourth player in his school’s history to be selected in the top five of a NFL draft.
The Jaguars ranked last among NFL teams in passing yards last season and next-to-last in passing touchdowns, completions and completion percentage.
They were slated to pick seventh overall in the 2012 draft, but exchanged first-round picks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so they could snare Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff Award recipient who forfeited his final year of collegiate eligibility to become draft-eligible.
Blackmon, chosen fifth overall, was the first receiver taken and the first OSU player ever drafted by the Jaguars. This is why Blackmon seems to be just what the draft doctor ordered: Last season, Jags players combined for 240 receptions, 2,179 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Blackmon totaled 232 receptions, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
“It’s a great pick,” NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “The Jaguars have to give (quarterback) Blaine Gabbert an opportunity. They had nobody to throw to last year. Now all of a sudden there is hope, because Justin Blackmon attacks defenders, attacks the football. He’s powerful. He’s as good as anybody I’ve ever seen in college football at elevating.”
Jacksonville didn’t have a receiver rank among the league’s top 50 players in receptions last season. Mike Thomas, who led the team with 44 catches, ranked 54th. The Jags added two free agent receivers (Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans) before the draft and now they have added a draftee that former OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden raves about.
“As we went through (the 2010 season), I knew that this guy was special,” Weeden said Thursday night. “I’ve always known that he was physically gifted, but he really took it to the next level. The guy is unbelievable. Jacksonville moved up to get him, so they’re excited about it. Jacksonville was smart.”
Only two players in OSU history were drafted higher than Blackmon. Bob Fenimore was the No. 1 pick in 1947 and Barry Sanders was the No. 3 pick in 1989. Terry Miller was a No. 5 pick in 1978.
“There are so many people who have helped me get to this point,” Blackmon said in a statement released by OSU, offering thanks to his coaches and teammates. “I’m proud that I got to be part of a group that accomplished so many firsts at OSU. We had so much fun and I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.”
Said Gundy in a prepared statement: “We’re very proud of Justin as he takes the next step in his career. He brought so much to our program, but one thing that I’ll remember about him is how hard he worked when it wasn’t game day. Justin was our best practice player and set the tone for our team by his work ethic and buying in to what we were trying to accomplish as a program. He will have a lasting impact at Oklahoma State.”
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, right, poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the fifth pick overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday. JASON DECROW/The Associated Press
From left, NFL football draft prospects Trent Richardson, of Alabama, Robert Griffin III of Baylor, Andrew Luck of Stanford and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State pose for photos during their visit to the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. RICHARD DREW/The Associated Press