Was former Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon a bust in the traditional sense of the word? I’m slightly too young to have a great memory of the 90s teams, but in my eyes, Blackmon is in the conversation for most talented wide receiver to wear a Jaguars uniform. Obviously, off-the-field issues derailed his career, but MAN that guy could play.
There’s no clear, tried-and-true “sense” of the word bust – at least not one I like. I rarely use the word because too many people casually call players “busts” when in fact the players just didn’t live up to their draft statuses. Many Jaguars observers and fans call players such as former Jaguars defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Tyson Alualu “busts.” The reality is both are good NFL players who committed the “offense” of being drafted early in Round 1. I don’t know what you would call Blackmon, but if you define bust as a Top 10 draft selection who gave the team virtually nothing and whose off-field negatives dramatically outweighed his on-field positions then … yes, he was certainly a bust. As far as the conversation for the most talented wide receiver in Jaguars history, Blackmon belongs in it. His hands and sense for the ball were as good as I’ve ever seen. But he doesn’t belong at the same level as Jimmy Smith, who for several seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the NFL’s second-best wide receiver behind only Jerry Rice – the best player ever to play the position. Blackmon would have been good. I doubt he would have reached Smith’s level because few have reached that level.
You keep saying you’ll know more about certain positions after OTAs. Does that apply to quarterback, too? Will we know if Foles is The Man or just a guy before training camp?
We indeed should know more about the Jaguars’ quarterback position after organized team activities, which begin Tuesday at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex outside TIAA Bank Field. I anticipate having a much better idea about backup quarterback, because we’ll see Alex McGough and Gardner Minshew practicing with this team for the first time. I expect some feedback about those two players – and, of course, Tanner Lee – by the time minicamp breaks in mid-June. I don’t realistically know how much we’ll learn about new starting quarterback Nick Foles. I would expect him to look the part in terms of accuracy, arm strength, command of offense; his experience and resume suggest that will be the case. I would expect a lot of optimistic talk from players and coaches – and I would expect the normal cautious optimism from Head Coach Doug Marrone, who isn’t exactly given to giddy offseason praise. How it all will play out come the regular season obviously is the more important question. So much changes in the fall compared to the spring and summer that whether Foles is The Man or a guy will be a question until September.