Things are not starting well in the relationship between the Jacksonville Jaguars and first-round pick Justin Blackmon. The former Oklahoma State standout receiver, whom the Jags traded up to select with the fifth overall pick, was arrested early Sunday morning on a charge of aggravated DUI in Stillwater, Okla.
The arrest, first reported by Kelly Hines of the Tulsa World, was for a specific charge tied to a blood alcohol level of .15 or more -- in fact, according to reports, he blew a .24, which is quite a bit more than the legal limit of .08. He was booked into jail at approximately 10 a.m. CT.
Per the World's report, the officer who pulled Blackmon over at approximately 3 a.m. CT "smelled alcohol and observed Blackmon was unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and glassy and blood-shot eyes."
This is not Blackmon's first issue of this type. In October of 2010, he was arrested in Carrollton, Texas, at 3:45 a.m. on a DUI complaint while driving to a Dallas Cowboys game. According to police radar, he was driving 92 mph in a 60 mph zone when the cops caught up to him. He was on his way to the game without permission to leave the team from head coach Mike Gundy, who suspended him for one game.
"I'm embarrassed to be in this position. ... I look forward to redeeming myself and proving to everybody that this isn't who I am," Blackmon said after the incident. "I'm not this guy. I'm humbled by this experience and I will grow from it."
This will not help his case.
Blackmon, who caught 252 passes for 3,564 yards and 40 touchdowns for the Cowboys in three seasons and led the nation with 20 scores in 2010, was thought to be the "safest" pick among the elite receivers in his draft class. Notre Dame's Michael Floyd, whom some believed to be more purely talented, went 13th to the Arizona Cardinals; his draft stock was impacted to a degree by a history of alcohol-related arrests. The Jaguars, desperate for a prime target for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert, traded up two spots with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take Blackmon, giving up a fourth-round pick in the process.
"He just has an edge to him," Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said of his new receiver after the draft. "He has a confidence and air about him that you like receivers to have," the Jaguars coach said. "There are a lot of things I like about him. I like the way he lines up and says the guy across from me can't cover me. He's a big playmaker, a guy that can do things when the ball is in his hands and that's important in this league to have run after catch ability."
As the fifth-overall pick, Blackmon is expected to receive a contract worth about $20 million if all terms are met. He hasn't signed a contract yet, but according to NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello, he's still subject to punishment under the league's drug and personal conduct policies.
One thing's for sure -- the Jags do not have a good history with first-round receivers. In 2004, they selected Washington's Reggie Williams with the ninth-overall pick. Williams washed out due to a complete lack of separation speed, and he was arrested several times on drug and alcohol charges. In 2010, Houston police used a Taser gun on Williams and arrested him for cocaine possession.
Just one year later, they took college quarterback Matt Jones of Arkansas with the 21st overall pick. Jones busted out similarly in the NFL, and was arrested in 2008 and 2009 for various alcohol and drug issues.
We assume the Jags did their due diligence on Blackmon, but given their history with players who have tended to the wrong side of the law, and Blackmon's own history, trading up to get him may be seen in retrospect as an enormous mistake. We can but wait and see whether Blackmon really gets it this time.