Julian Blackmon 2020 NFL Draft Profile

Julian Blackmon
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Julian Blackmon Overview

Position: Safety
Height: 6’-0”
Weight: 187 pounds
School: Utah

Julian Blackmon 2020 NFL Draft Profile

After four seasons with Utah, defensive back Julian Blackmon is taking his career to the professional level in the 2020 NFL Draft. After spending the early part of his career at cornerback, Blackmon switched over to safety in 2019. The move made all the difference in the world, as Blackmon had arguably the best season of his career. Appearing in 632 snaps, Blackmon ended the season with 45 tackles, seven assists, and an 89.6 Pro Football Focus grade.

Blackmon initially entered the collegiate football ranks as a three-star prospect. A multi-sport athlete in high school, Blackmon committed to Utah and turned his focus to football. After riding the bench in 2016, Blackmon earned a starting role in 2017. Appearing in 706 snaps, Blackmon ended his sophomore season with 48 tackles and five assists. In 2018, Blackmon allowed 750 yards and six touchdowns as an outside cornerback. This underwhelming season led to his transition to the safety position.

Strengths

  • Former cornerback with the versatility to play all over the secondary;
  • Rangy safety with the ability to take away the deep part of the field;
  • Can play man coverage against tight ends;
  • Instinctive player with above-average football IQ;
  • Should get even better as a safety with more reps.

Weaknesses

  • Jack of all trades, master of none;
  • Positional versatility can be overrated because he was an objectively bad cornerback;
  • Recovery speed is nothing to write home about;
  • Not a physical player and doesn’t project as a good run safety;
  • Could take more efficient angles to the football;

NFL Comparison: Kurt Coleman

Teams With Need at Position: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Projection: 3rd/4th Round

Bottom Line on Julian Blackmon

Opinions on Julian Blackmon are going to vary based on how much the evaluator believes in his ability to improve moving forward. Thanks to his positional change in 2020, there is reason to believe that he can make some dramatic improvements at the NFL level. Based on his 2019 play, Blackmon showed the ability to cover the deep part of the field and make plays on the ball. Additionally, his experience at cornerback and safety implies that he has a high football IQ, which means he could be able to pick up the subtleties of the position as time goes on.

Blackmon didn’t participate in the NFL Combine, so it’s impossible to know if he has any untapped athletic potential. However, based on his tape, Blackmon projects as a guy that can do everything at an ok level but nothing at an elite level. After all, the only reason he’s a safety right now is that he wasn’t good enough to be a cornerback. He struggles to recover when beat and probably doesn’t have the necessary physicality to drop into the box and play against the run. Julian Blackmon is definitely an NFL-caliber player, but only time will tell if he can develop into a starter or if he’ll just be a career backup.

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