Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been suspended four games after he violated the league’s substance abuse policy, according to Adam Schefter. And with that, the Jaguars are already a little less irrelevant in 2013. And it’s April 30th.
I’m not much of an arithmetic guy, but I believe four games is a quarter of the season, a pretty stiff kick to the groin for Blackmon. There’s also the added matter of Blackmon’s two DUIs from his college days of tomfoolery, which thew up many frantically waving red flags the Jaguars were willing to ignore. Well played with your effort to justify that trust, Justin.
You can point to Blackmon’s rookie season that was just sort of OK after he was a top five pick last spring (64 receptions, 865 yards, five yards), or the presence of Cecil Shorts on the other side with his 979 yards and seven scores, and say there’s little reason for concern during this four-game hiatus. Or hell, there’s still some hopeful if unproven depth with the recently-signed Mohamed Massaquoi, and Ace Sanders.
But despite whatever encouragement you’d like to find, this could still be damn daunting…
Justin Blackmon’s 503 yards from the slot in 2012 were 14th-most in the NFL, and more than all other Jaguars WR combined.
— Pete Damilatis (@PFF_Pete) April 30, 2013
That’s a significant subtraction from an offense which will feature Maurice Jones-Drew playing his first meaningful football since a season-ending foot injury last year in Week 7, while Blaine Gabbert clings to the shreds of his career without one of his primary weapons.
For fantasy purposes, if he impresses throughout the offseason, there’s now a prolonged early-season chance for Sanders to make an impact. The fourth-round pick has the skillset to excel in the slot, and he could post quality early production while building a connection with Gabbert/Chad Henne. There are far worse picks to make in the final round.