Justin Blackmon will never see another down in the city of Jacksonville, at least as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars anyways. Currently suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policies, Blackmon has wasted the early part of his career and if he doesn’t turn his life around, his future as well. With the draft over and the Jags picking two receivers in round two, the writing is on the wall for Blackmon to never play here again.
Drafted with the 5th overall pick in 2012, the Jaguars traded up to get Blackmon and before he signed a contract with the team, got a DUI in Oklahoma and already cost himself millions of dollars and had one strike against him. The talented WR went on to have the best rookie receiving year in Jacksonville and the team’s fans were ecstatic about the possibility of decent WR since Jimmy Smith. But his inner demons were raising their ugly heads again, when he should have been focused on getting better.
During training camp in 2013, Blackmon was randomly tested and he failed that test. Under the leagues rules, he was suspended for the first four games of the year. Strike two. At the time he seemed remorseful and during the rest of camp and the preseason games, he was unquestionably the best receiver on the team. He came back after his suspension and had the best 4 game stretch of any WR in Jaguars history and then strike three came. Another failed test and this time an indefinite suspension was handed down by the league.
The fans were left in the dark, the new regime had no clue as to when he was going to come back, and the team was without its best receiver yet again. Even if the league determined that he completed his rehab and whatever else they may have him do, he will still be suspended for another eight games to start the season. GM Dave Caldwell had to do something to address this. He addressed it by drafting two WR’s in the 2014 draft that according to him, had first round grades, and distancing himself from Blackmon by telling fans that we shouldn’t expect him back. WR’s Marqise Lee from USC and Allen Robinson from Penn State will be stepping in to fill the void left by Blackmon’s demons.
The writing on the wall is there and, unfortunately, is written in permanent marker. Blackmon will not be back with this team, even if re-instated, and the Jaguars have seemed to move on. It is probably best that he doesn’t come back here as many fans are ready for him to go, given all the struggles this team has had with busted WR’s in the first round. From RJ Soward to Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Blackmon now, this team has had bust after bust at that position. There is precedent for Blackmon to turn his life around and have a good career. Hall of Famer Cris Carter had troubles early in his career, but even he had to carve his career out elsewhere. It’s looking like Blackmon will have to follow that example if wants any chance of having a career in the NFL. It’s such a shame too, the kid was genuinely talented and the fans would have loved him. This team is starved for WR stars and he had his chance. But the time to move on is now and the Jaguars seemed to have done just that.