Join Date: Oct 2009
I remembered this thread and I decided to give it some research. My team is in the market for a bigtime receiver or two, so I decided to look further into the comparison. Someone else had thrown in an opinion or two about Sammy Watkins, who I really like, so I decided to look at all three. It made sense to me; after all, I don't think it is at all crazy to suggest these three guys may each be the top receiver of the next three drafts.
Blackmon - The best receiving numbers of the three, with 121/1522/18. While he isn't really that big of a receiver (6'1", 207), he plays very big and has a very intimidating demeanor on the field. He is very aggressive, especially in traffic, and simply outmuscles defenders for the ball. He runs a beautiful fade route. While he isn't blazing fast, he isn't hindered by a lack of speed and finds himself open a lot. Has great hands, and of the three he is the most capable of making a play in tight coverage. He seems to get the most separation on intermediate routes, especially over the middle and on seam routes. One thing that really separates him from the other two is his production in big games this past season. In 4 games against ranked opponents he racked up 44 catches for 658 yards and 7 TD's, including 8/168/3 against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
Woods - Very Strong production. 111/1292/15. Considering he is a year behind Blackmon and his QB is returning as well, he has a great chance of matching Blackmons numbers this season. He has decent size and strength; I really like how he blocks downfield. Very good hands and is a natural snatcher. As far as speed goes, he appears to be very similar to Blackmon. He gets some separation, not a ton, and outruns the pack when he gets behind the defense, but it doesn't necessarily look easy. What I did notice about him, though, is how he always seems to be open, wide open. Some guys just have a knack for that, and it can make up for a lot of shortcomings. Now when you combine that knack with a guy who has a lot of great tools, which Woods does, then you could have something special. He runs a really nice fade route, scored a lot of short-yardage TD's, and catches the ball really well in tight quarters. He was very productive in the return game as well, although I don't see him being a return specialist at the next level.
Watkins - It's kind of unfair to put him into this conversation, for one because he was a freshman this year, and two, because he is a very different player. While he didn't have quite the receiving numbers as the other two (82/1219/12), he more than made up for it with everything else he does on the field. A threat running, receiving and in the return game, he amassed 2276 all-purpose yards, and scored on an 89-yard kickoff return against Maryland, a game in which he put up 335 all-purpose yards and 3 TD's. His speed is downright scary, and to grade him as a receiver is really unfair to him because he is a weapon that can score from anywhere on the field. He was always the fastest player on the field and reaches the corner on reverses like no one I have seen in quite some time. He is super explosive, and can turn on the jets immediately. Of his 12 receiving TD's, 9 of them came from outside the red zone. He had 7 receptions of 40 yards or more. Bottom line, if he gets the ball in the open field it's usually over. On a negative side, he doesn't seem to be as much of a natural receiver as Blackmon or Woods, although I think he will get better with time. He has a slender frame and isn't very physical, relying on his speed most of the time. He could really stand to get stronger, and will need to in order to get off the line at the next level. It's early yet, though. He's got a couple years to get there.
All in all, I think Watkins is the best prospect of the three and has the highest ceiling. Behind him, it is really a matter of preference. Woods is more of a fluid route runner, and I love the way he finds large chunks of open real estate. Blackmon, on the other hand, is the emotional cherry bomb that can change the momentum of a game and take over.
Justin Blackmon - Dez Bryant
Robert Woods - Hakim Nicks
Sammy Watkins - Big DeSean Jackson