Does everybody remember the high hopes that were set in place for former first round pick of the Detroit Lions, Charles Rogers? After posting 68 catches and 13 TD’s in college, the Lions figured he was worth the gamble and they selected him 2nd overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. After three NFL seasons, and three failed substance abuse tests, Rogers found himself on the outside looking in, never to play another NFL down. For his career, Rogers didn’t even come close to the production level he had in college. His career NFL statistics: 36 receptions, 440 yards and 4 TD’s. Rogers troubles carried over after his departure from the NFL as he found himself in trouble with the law on multiple occasions and has officially been placed on the historical list of “busts,” joining Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, and Tony Mandarich to name a few. And by the way, as this article is being written, there is an arrest warrant out for Charles Rogers after failing to appear in court.
Former Oklahoma State standout wide receiver and the fifth overall selection by the Jacksonville Jaguars in this years NFL Draft, Justin Blackmon could be heading down that same road. Having been arrested on two separate DUI charges before even wearing an NFL uniform, Blackmon might soon be finding himself among the famous list. By no means is this a proclamtion, or a prediction, it’s simply a warning and a possible, “I told you so.”
In studying Blackmon both on and off the field, he displays amazing physical talent, but lacks visible maturity. At 6′ 1″ and 210lbs, Blackmon commands respect by opposing defensive backs. His size, speed, and physical ability allowed him to thrive in Mike Gundy’s high-powered Oklahoma State offense, compiling 131 receptions for 2,042 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Blackmon’s college statistics completely warrant a top-five selection in the NFL Draft, but it should also be kept in mind that he played in what is considered a fairly weak conference, the Big-12. Blackmon was also criticized prior to the NFL Draft as he been considered a weak blocker, he appears to have problems separating himself in single coverage as he relies on his physicality to bail him out on plays.
Bottom line, you can analyze stats all day long. You can point out that because of his stats and highlight reels on YouTube, he can play. The topic of conversation here should be whether Blackmon is mature enough to put his recent arrest behind him and produce at the NFL level. In several interviews that we’ve provided below, Blackmon shows few signs that he is. During the NFL rookie premiere, he seemed less than interested to be interviewing with SB Nation. His answers were vague, scripted and what you would expect to hear. During his press conference in which he apologized for his latest actions, his apology again appeared scripted and empty. He even went as far as saying that he was done with alcohol “for now.”
If Justin Blackmon wants to prove his critics wrong, he needs to make some changes. Instead of quitting alochol “for now” put it in your rear-view and recognize the opportunity that you’ve been given. Quit booze all together, the fact that he blew a .24 might indicate that you have a bit of a problem. Start surrounding yourself with some better people. People that are going to keep you away from situations where alcohol can abused. People that can actually help you with your interview skills and at least fake that you want to be there. Focus your efforts on the game that is going to define your legacy. A legacy that is yet to be determined. Only time will tell where Justin Blackmon’s career in the NFL will take him.
Blackmon’s Interview During The NFL Rookie Premiere
Blackmon’s “Apology” To The Jacksonville Jaguars Media