STILLWATER — Justin Blackmon has millions of reasons to turn pro.
Thing is, he might have millions more to return to Oklahoma State.
There is no doubt he has first-round talent, but as decision day nears for underclassmen to enter the NFL Draft, the Cowboy receiver needs to think long and hard about what he could gain by coming back for another college season.
This isn't about breaking records and winning championships and all that pie-in-the-sky stuff everyone assumes will be needed to draw Blackmon back to college.
This is about his bottom line.
Chances are good, Blackmon will have a bigger payday if he waits a year.
On Sunday, Georgia wideout A.J. Green announced that he was leaving early for the NFL, following the lead of Julio Jones, the Alabama wideout who announced Friday that he was turning pro. Both fit the mold of a prototypical pro receiver mold, physical specimens who are tall and sculpted. They look like linebackers but run like tailbacks.
Green and Jones are the consensus top two receivers in this year's draft class, according to the pundits and the prognosticators.
Should Blackmon decide by Saturday's deadline that he's going pro, he'll likely be drafted after those two guys.
I know that Blackmon had a much better season than either Green or Jones. I know that he won the Biletnikoff Award in a landslide and that he was an easy All-American selection and that his numbers are so much better than Green's or Jones' that it's almost laughable.
Blackmon scored 20 touchdowns this season.
Green and Jones didn't have that many combined.
Blackmon averaged 148.5 yards a game.
Neither Green nor Jones averaged more than a hundred.
Big-time production is Blackmon's calling card, and while NFL types are interested in those numbers, they often get blinded by other numbers when it comes to receivers, namely the ones that come after “40-yard dash time.”
Green has run in the 4.3s, Jones in the low 4.4s.
Blackmon has run in the mid 4.4s, but he's seen more as a 4.55 type of guy. For us mere mortals, that would feel a bit like flying. In the world of NFL receivers, that's just average.
Blackmon doesn't have elite-level speed.
Granted, if he leaves for the pros, he would probably spend the next couple months working his tail off to shave precious tenths of a second from his 40 time. He would do everything he could to be as fast as possible for the NFL Combine.