Justin Blackmon is clearly an elite talent, with the size and speed of a true No. 1. And I currently have him as my top rated receiver for 2012.
However, I am slightly concerned about his pass-catching technique.
While watching Blackmon dominate the Arizona secondary last Thursday, I noticed his tendency to let the ball come into his chest or his stomach. Rarely does he extend his arms and gently tuck the ball after corralling it with his hands.
The play at the 1:36 point on this video is a good example:
On this particular play Blackmon does a nice job tracking the ball over his shoulder, but he lets it land down on his hip. He clearly has a step on the defensive backs and easily could have adjusted to make the catch, but instead takes a lazy approach.
Now watch the following play.
In this play the ball is high, forcing Blackmon to extend his arms and make the catch with his hands. He does an excellent job plucking the ball from above his shoulders and quickly turning to run for the 1st down.
It’s clear that Blackmon has the ability to make these plays, but his consistency is lacking.
Why does this matter?
In college Blackmon is such an elite talent that few cornerbacks or linebackers are in position to make a hit on him immediately following the reception. This allows him to easily corral the ball with his hands or his arms. On an NFL field, however, space is limited. He’ll be making more catches in traffic and if the defender and the ball arrive at the same time, he will experience a dramatic increase in drops.
This is a very correctable flaw in Blackmon’s game, but it is one that NFL teams will keep an eye on throughout the rest of this season and in his pre-draft workouts.
Video from @draftbreakdown