Just how fast is Justin Blackmon? The answer will have everything to do with his draft stock this year.
The first name in television draft gurus rolled out his latest 2012 NFL mock draft on Wednesday. Regardless of what you think of Mel Kiper, his mock draft's are must-reads for draft enthusiasts. And what does Kiper predict for the St. Louis Rams?
For starters, he continues to see a trade down from the second pick as a very realistic possibility. Kiper cites several teams that could bid on the chance to draft Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. And why wouldn't they? RG3 looks to have everything a team could want in a franchise cornerstone, the arm, the accuracy, the athleticism and a real acumen for the game.
Kiper does not include trades in his mocks, at least not these early ones. So let's see who he has in store for the Rams with his pick.
Surprise! Kiper mocks Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon to the Rams.
Here is his explanation.
I've said before this pick could be in play. Cleveland, Washington or maybe even Miami could slide into this spot if they want to make a move at quarterback, but Blackmon goes here in this mock because I'm not able to reflect trades. It will be interesting to see if Blackmon is willing to run in Indy. He could bypass it and wait for his pro day given his current status. St. Louis is in desperate need of a weapon in the passing game, and will get one with one of its first two picks. Remember, it could also lose Brandon Lloyd in free agency.
FWIW, Kiper puts RG3 to the Browns in the fourth spot.
The latest report is that Blackmon does plan to run the forty at the Combine. That comes from Albert Breer, from a Feb. 3 report.
Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon told me he plans to "do it all", including the 40, at the combine. Said he thinks he'll run 4.4/low 4.5s.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 3, 2012
If Blackmon did run in the 4.4s, it would change the assessment many have his draft status. Blackmon clearly has skills, but some experts question his down field ability. Blackmon is not though to be on par with the top two receivers picked last year in the draft.
Kiper did say this about Blackmon's speed earlier on Wednesday, as relayed via Evan Silva:
He's not gonna run a 4.35, but Michael Irvin didn't. Larry Fitzgerald didn't. And they were great.
Few top prospects seem to elicit the debate that Blackmon does. Few doubt his NFL potential. Instead, experts seem to have questions about his potential to be a top NFL receiver.
Answering questions about his deep speed, showing people how quick and explosive he is in space and answering some relatively minor character concerns will be essential for Blackmon at the Combine.
For now, the idea scenario for the Rams would be trading down and picking a receiver with a lower spot in the first round. That will depend on factors outside their control.