Trouble has followed wide receiver Justin Blackmon wherever he goes during his career as a pass catcher. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy was suspended by the coaching staff for one game during the 2010 season in Stillwater for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. After being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 NFL Draft with the fifth overall pick in April, Blackmon again found himself arrested for DUI in June but avoided league discipline.
Third time’s a charm (or not depending on how you look at it) as Blackmon was arrested again just 11 months later and blew a .24 (three times the legal limit) on a breathalyzer test. This time the league was not willing to look the other way as the now habitual offender will be missing the first four games of the 2013 season.
Even with that four-game ban, Blackmon still has potential just oozing from everywhere entering his second NFL season. On a 2-14 Jaguars team that was impossible to watch a year ago, he was perhaps the lone bright spot with 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns. Blackmon’s coming out party was an exquisite seven-catch performance in Week 11 against the Houston Texans where he racked up a monstrous 236 yards receiving to show off his game-breaking potential.
There is no disputing his spot atop the wide receiver depth chart in Jacksonville, but the team does hope his absence will allow additional complementary pieces to emerge. Cecil Shorts showed serious promise last season, and the team signed Mohamed Massaquoi in the offseason to further bolster the receiving corps. Jordan Shipley and rookie Ace Sanders round out a unit that doesn’t look all that bad on paper.
It may be another miserable year for Jags in terms of wins and losses, but Blackmon should show just how valuable he is when he returns from his four-game suspension in Week 5 at the St. Louis Rams. Regardless of whether it is Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne under center in 2013, Blackmon figures to see some serious production once he gets back in uniform for the Jaguars.