Jacksonville Jaguars 2012 NFL Draft Review

Justin Blackmon

The Jaguars took some heat from non-football people about the selection of Bryan Anger at pick 70 in the third round. If writers and fans do their due diligence, there are several games in NFL history where the punting game was key to victory or key to a loss if a team had a subpar punter. One that comes to mind was the December 16, 2007 game between the undefeated Patriots and Jets. Punts accounted for three scores, or 21 out of the 30 points scored in the game. The Patriots won the punting game two touchdowns to one and clinched the number one seed in the AFC, then went on to the Super Bowl. Football is a field position game. Anger put 90 kicks inside the opponents’ 20-yard line during his career. In the East/West Game he averaged 60 yards per punt with hang times hovering around an incredible five seconds. Special teams are, after all, one-third of the game. General Manager Gene Smith traded up to the fifth spot to draft wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Oklahoma State standout brings a skill set to the Jaguars that they haven’t seen since the days of Jimmy Smith. Blackmon was arrested for a DUI incident between rookie mini-camp and OTAs. At press time a contrite Blackmon assured the Jaguars’ organization that it was a terrible lapse in judgment and will not happen again. Blackmon has been impressive in OTAs with his route running, work ethic, and hands. A physical intermediate to deep receiver, he was ultra productive in college. Highly competitive and aggressive, Blackmon demonstrates the ability and desire to reach, extend, and lay out for a bad pass. A natural catcher with good ball skills, he snatched 232 passes over the past two years. He is not afraid to block safeties. Andre Branch was drafted to play opposite Jeremy Mincy and bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In 2011 he recorded 10.5 sacks. He shows good use of hands, long arms, and leverage at the point of attack. He has a jackrabbit start off on the snap, is disruptive in his play and will fill a major need on defense. Tough to block one-on-one, he plays well in space. A speed rusher, he has a high motor. Bryan Anger introduced his howitzer type leg in mini-camp and was as solid and consistent as advertised. He averaged over five seconds of hang time in rookie mini-camp and has the ability to change field position with his strong leg. Brandon Marshall adds depth to the linebacker corps and projects to become a core special teams’ coverage player. He possesses top level instincts and plays hard with hustle and effort. He has the ability and agility to play in space. Marshall has solid tackling skills and consistently tracks backs and works to wrap tackle. He takes good pursuit angles and is a competitor who works to finish a play. Mike Harris is an underrated competitive and athletic corner with good feet and loose hips. A nickle sub package corner, he can track and trail slot receivers. He is a good open field wrap tackler. He plays the ball in the air and has a closing burst on the ball. With his good hands and ball skills he has the talent to upgrade a current backup and contribute on special teams’ coverage. Jeris Pendleton is an average defensive tackle at 28 years of age. A junior college transfer, he played against a lower level of competition and will most likely be a practice squad player. GRADE: AVERAGE.

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