NAME: Julian Blackmon
JERSEY: No. 23
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 190 lbs
PROS: Long frame fits NFL desires, though added weight will likely be necessary. Athletic ability checks NFL boxes as well. Has great burst from the backpedal and on the hoof to close the ball-carrier/catch point. Excels as an off coverage player given three-step explosiveness and ability to open his hips and pursue down the field. Has impressive deep speed with long strides, but still plays under control and can mirror change of direction relatively well. Gets his head turned early in reps and can quickly locate the football. Not afraid to come up and hit, though thin frame doesn’t necessarily hold up well into heavy contact right now. Will take on blockers with hands to disengage and get involved on the tackle. Uses length well as a tackler. A high-energy player.
CONS: Very raw in a lot of the finer aspects of cornerback play. Despite frame/tools for solid press play, is far too technically unrefined to trust in press coverage consistently (as per 2017 tape). Regularly shifts his weight too quickly to a single foot and can get left in the dust by simple release moves. Uses hands to jam at line of scrimmage with good power, but does not integrate jam with the rest of the coverage. Will be far too quick to open up his hips to turn and run, which leaves him susceptible to intermediate breaking routes. Reactionary quickness not yet up to par for consistent line of scrimmage play.
Tendency to lean one way and play without centered, balanced weight also plagues him in off coverage, as smart receivers can manipulate their stems to displace him. Ends up on the ground more often then you’d like to see–again, a result of playing without enough control. High PBU production seems to be more a result of physical tools than technically sound play. Currently a project player with a nice developmental ceiling.
– Benjamin Solak