Blackmon is a tremendous athlete with great physical skills to get open and even greater skills at the point of the ball to make plays up and over defenders. Blackmon has a chance this next year to improve on his speed and his mental skills in the game that come with added maturity. He is likely to be a top-five selection next April.
There are many out there that want to hold age (28 years old by the next draft) against Brandon Weeden. But head coach Mike Gundy says his age will actually work for him, and I agree.
If he had been playing football all these years and taking a beating, then yes his age would be a negative. However, Weeden has a clean body with the exception of a baseball elbow injury and a thumb injury from last season. Neither impact his throwing. He has clean knees and legs.
He is physically mature and remember males typically reach their physical peak in the 27- to 33-year age range.
The other bonus with Weeden is the maturity. He is married and has been through those goofy days of youth where you are prone to do some goofy things. He also is financially on firm ground. He won't be taking a bonus check for signing a contract and doing a bunch of crazy things. He has been a professional in baseball and knows how to conduct himself in professional sports.
Finally, he understands there is no time to waste and he will be aggressive about preparing for his opportunity. The year of work under Todd Monken, who is fresh from coaching in the NFL, will also be looked at as a huge positive with teams in the NFL.
A pair of other Cowboys who NFL teams will be watching are offensive tackle Levy Adcock and safety Markelle Martin.
Adcock is physically what you are looking for in the NFL, and he is country determined and country strong. His skills improve every day and the NFL knows he is coming from a proven offensive line coach in Joe Wickline. In fact, others on that line, including Jonathan Rush and Grant Garner, could also get serious looks.
Martin is also on the radar screen of scouts in the NFL. Joe DeForest told me several scouts look at Martin and Johnny Thomas as among the best tandem of safeties in the senior class. Martin would be the tops of the two with his heady play and skills. He is also a very physical player and the NFL craves safeties that can take heads off. They serve as great deterrants to wide receivers making plays.
My Guess at Percentage on Being NFL Draft First-Round Picks
(Based on good health and expected play in 2011 season)
Justin Blackmon - 100%
Brandon Weeden - 96%
Levy Adcock - 80%
Markelle Martin - 55%