Justin Blackmon was the first receiver drafted in the 2012 draft, but that doesn't mean he's immune to the steep learning curve rookies face entering the NFL.
Blackmon, a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the top receiver in college football at Oklahoma State, missed most of Jacksonville's rookie minicamp with a mild foot injury. He's back on the field, but acclimating to the pro offense of first-year coach Mike Mularkey has been challenging.
"When he knows what he's doing, he's very good," said Mularkey. "When he doesn't, he's lost."
Mularkey said the problem for Blackmon is play-to-play awareness and learning where and how to execute each call.
What Mularkey wants to see Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, do more frequently is stop and ask questions, not drift further away from what he should be doing. Mularkey said he told all players on the first day of camp never to go to the line of scrimmage not knowing what to do.
"I would prefer you say, 'Hey, I'm not sure what to do.' Ask, so the play doesn't get totally blown out of proportion. I'd much admire and respect a player that doesn't know what he's got and turns around and asks than I do a guy that walks out there and stands at the line of scrimmage, where he's in a three-point and doesn't know what to do."
Mularkey quickly developed sixth overall pick Julio Jones into a consistent force with the Falcons last season. The Jaguars don't have an established quarterback -- Blaine Gabbert is ahead of Chad Henne on the current depth chart -- as Mularkey did with Matt Ryan in Atlanta, and also lack an established veteran with experience in the offense. Because Mularkey is installing the offense on the fly, even longtime pro such as Laurent Robinson are ingesting it for the first time.
"There's two different speeds," Mularkey said. "He's had a ton thrown at him, he's been put in there more than anybody else, so he's had more chances to have mistakes. I think he knows our feelings on it."
Blackmon Getting His Feet Wet
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