Most overrated draft prospect = Justin Blackmon

Given the state of the Rams offense, I can excuse a few from "mocking" the Oklahoma State wide receiver to St Louis.

Peter Schrager (Fox Sports), Rob Rang (CBS Sports), and Wes Bunting (National Football Post) each have Blackmon being drafted #2 to the Rams along with four different writers mocking Blackmon going 2nd in the 2012 NFL Draft.

However, as we get closer and closer to the draft, I believe this lunacy will diminish.

Recent history has a trio of WRs going 3rd overall : 2005 Braylon Edwards, 2004 Larry Fitzgerald, and 2003 Andre Johnson, but the last wideouts drafted 2nd overall was Calvin Johnson (2007), and draft bust Charles Rodgers (2003). Before that, you have to go back to Keyshawn Johnson (#1 overall) in 1996 before you will find a WR drafted with one of the first two picks.

Many, including former NFL QB Warren Moon have compared Blackmon to his former Oklahoma State Cowboy Dez Bryant. Moon said "He's like Dez Bryant with all of his brain cells. He's a guy that has all those skills that Dez Bryant has, but he's not the knucklehead that Dez Bryant has turned out to be with Dallas."

To me the best comparative to Blackmon is Michael Crabtree. Due to Crabtree's limited NFL success, many will see this as an insult to Justin Blackmon, but hear me out.

Both are listed at around 6-1 and 215, each has questions about their top end speed, both played in similar offenses in the Big 12, and both were wildly productive in those offenses.

Blackmon caught 111 receptions for 1782 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore. He then came back and caught 121 balls for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. While Crabtree had 134 receptions ( NCAA freshman record) for 1962 yards and 22 TD back in 2007, then followed that up with 97 catches for 1165 yards and 19 TDs as a soph.

Each were two time winners of the Biletnikoff Trophy given to the nations top collegiate wide receiver. Crabtree was the only freshman ever to win the award in 2007, then won again in 2008. Blackmon won the award both in 2010 and 2011.

Here is a scouting report I dug up on Crabtree: Big frame with nice muscle definition ... Does not drop easy passes ... Circus catch ability ... Attacks the football ... Times jump balls well and catches ball at the highest point possible ... Great footwork on sideline, showing the ability to keep both feet in bounds ... Has instincts; a reliable target who comes back to his quarterback and presents a window ... Physical at the line of scrimmage to beat press man coverage and at the goal line ... Gives effort as a blocker ... Elusive in the open field ... Nice acceleration from zero to top speed ... Clutch.

Undoubtedly, there will be those who point to Crabtree's "Diva" personality (a trait quite common in star WRs) and point to Blackmon's perceived squeaky clean image (despite his Oct. 2010 DUI arrest, when he was going 92 in a 60 MPH zone) as a reason Blackmon will justify being drafted higher than Crabtree (picked 10 in 2009).

But that may ignore the most compelling reason Blackmon should not be a top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Those at proposed the shiny hood ornament theory years ago (an arguement against 1st round WRs)

The theory has three basic parts.

ONE – Wide receivers, for all their eye-catching flash and dash, are little more than shiny ornaments on the hood of an NFL offense. Oh, sure, they're nice to have. But they don't necessarily make your offense any better – and they rarely if ever make your team any better.

TWO – You should add a flashy wide receiver only when all the other pieces of a great team are in place

THREE – Even the greatest receivers of all time can make a big impact only when all those pieces are in place, and even then the impact is largely overstated. Even the great Jerry Rice, for example, touched the ball just four to five times per game. Rice did not make the 49ers a great team. He was drafted by the 18-1 defending Super Bowl champ 49ers in 1985.

Here is a list of all the wide receivers drafted in the 1st round since 2001, recent success aside, look at the high "bust" rate.


AJ Green, Georgia (4th Pick - Cincinnati)

Julio Jones, Alabama (6th pick - Atlanta)

Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburg (26th pick- KC)

Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech (22nd pick - Denver)

Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State (24th pick - Dallas)

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland (7th pick - Oakland)

Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (10th pick - San Francisco)

Jeremy Maclin, Missouri (19th pick - Philadelphia)
Percy Harvin, Florida (22nd pick - Minnesota)
Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina (29th pick - NY Giants)
Kenny Britt, Rutgers (30th pick - Tennessee)

No wide receivers selected in first round.


Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech (2nd pick - Detroit)
Ted Ginn, Jr., Ohio State (9th pick – Miami)
Dwayne Bowe, LSU (23rd pick - Kansas City)
Robert Meachem, Tennessee (27th pick - New Orleans)
Craig Davis, LSU (30th pick - San Diego)
Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio State (32nd pick- Indianapolis)


Santonio Holmes, Ohio State (25th pick - Pittsburgh)

Braylon Edwards, Michigan (3rd pick – Cleveland)
Troy Williamson, South Carolina (7th pick – Minnesota)
Mike Williams, USC (10th pick – Detroit)
Matt Jones, Arkansas (21st pick – Jacksonville)
Mark Clayton, Oklahoma (22nd pick – Baltimore)
Roddy White, UAB (27th pick – Atlanta)


Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh (3rd pick – Arizona)
Roy Williams, Texas (7th pick – Detroit)
Reggie Williams, Washington (9th pick – Jacksonville)

Lee Evans, Wisconcin ( 13th -- Buffalo Bills)
Michael Jenkins, Ohio State (29th pick – Atlanta)
Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma State (31st pick – San Francisco)


Charles Rogers, Michigan State (2nd pick – Detroit)
Andre Johnson, Miami-FL (3rd pick – Houston)
Bryant Johnson, Penn State (17th pick – Arizona)


Donte Stallworth, Tennessee (13th pick, New Orleans)
Ashley Lelie, Hawaii (19th pick - Denver)
Javon Walker, Florida State (20th pick – Green Bay)


David Terrell, Michigan (8th pick – Chicago)
Koren Robinson, NC State (9th pick – Seattle)
Rod Gardner, Clemson (15th pick – Washington)
Santana Moss, Miami-FL (16th pick - NY Jets)
Freddie Mitchell, UCLA (25th pick – Philadelphia)
Reggie Wayne, Miami-FL (30th pick – Indianapolis)

Here is another excellent article from ESPN: The perils of drafting WRs early

Average season for wide receivers drafted in the first round since 2001 .

Overall In Top 10
Games 13.6 13.2
Receptions 47.4 48.0
Rec. yards 635.5 666.0
Rec. TDs 4.2 4.3

Lastly, here is an article written all the way back in 2001 by Len Pasquarelli titled History proves receivers tough to gage:,1328,3771752,00.html

Not much has changed since then....

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