Which wide receiver is the best in the 2012 NFL Draft, Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd? It's the kind of debate that threatens to tear apart the fabric of our great nation ... or something like that. It is a question of great importance to the St. Louis Rams and their fans. We now have one of the most respected opinions in the game weighing on the matter.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films, who I am legally bound to call "guru," gives the nod to the Notre Dame product, Floyd.
While Cosell gives the nod to Floyd, it's not as easy as a 1-2 ranking. Not at all.
Cosell notes Blackmon's strengths, his catch radius, body control and quickness. In no way is Cosell pointing to Blackmon as a poor prospect. But he does have legitimate concerns about his role and how those abilities translate at the next level.
Blackmon did not consistently explode out of his breaks at the intermediate level. That was the result of a tendency to run too upright on his vertical stem. That can certainly be coached, and it's always important to remember that no player entering the NFL is a finished product. One thing I'm not sure can be coached, though, is Blackmon's lack of vertical explosiveness. He did not show a second gear on tape. He was a measured, methodical, one-speed receiver.
That doesn't mean he's a lost cause. The trick for teams is figuring out where and how to best use him in the NFL. Are there matchups he can win on a consistent basis?
Floyd has many of the same traits as Blackmon, though he's a bigger prospect. One key difference is his quickness, what Cosell dubs "a more explosive element to his game."
A second trait the sets Floyd apart is his "burst with the ball in the air." That makes Floyd a more dangerous deep threat than Blackmon, setting up to beat corners and safeties more consistently on routes designed to stretch the field. Cosell compares the Notre Dame prospect to Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe.
Be sure to read the whole thing.