In April 2012, Justin Blackmon was selected in the first round, fifth overall, by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 National Football League Draft. Blackmon, the consensus top wide receiver going into the draft, was a standout player at Oklahoma State. He earned a reputation as not only a top talent, but also as a hard worker and a good teammate. He stood out as a selfless and mellow player, playing a position often associated with vanity and egotism.
Drafting a wide receiver typically comes with plenty of character concerns, but Blackmon appeared to have less than most. His one red flag came during a 2010 traffic stop while Blackmon was still attending Oklahoma State, where he was charged with a DUI. Draft experts were crossed on this instance–some said it was a character flaw to be worried about, while others wrote it off as a one-time mistake that Blackmon had learned from. Five weeks into his NFL career, Blackmon may have proved his skeptics right.
Blackmon was pulled over around 3 o’clock on the morning of June 3. Authorities say Blackmon was driving at 60 mph in a 35-limit zone. After agreeing to a breathalyzer test, he blew a 0.24 BAC–three times Oklahoma’s legal limit of 0.08–and was charged with aggravated DUI, a more serious charge than a standard DUI due to how high his BAC was.
Blackmon is experiencing what many NFL players and few non-NFL players have gone through–going from a college student with just as much money as the standard student, to being a multi-millionaire in a matter of hours. His life at college was largely dictated by the University and his coaches. His new life as an NFL player allowed him a seemingly unlimited supply of wealth and complete freedom–within the law.
Blackmon now looks toward potential jail time and likely punishment from the NFL for violating its personal conduct policy. His trouble with the law will also hurt his ability to negotiate for future contracts. Blackmon went from a trustworthy future star to a potential liability before even stepping onto an NFL game field.
Blackmon, as one of the symbols for the Jaguars’ optimism and future success, has already disappointed and caused the franchise’s fans to hold their breath. A single DUI is generally a warning flag for alcohol problems, but a second one–especially at such a high BAC level–is a definite reason for concern. This could be a good opportunity for Blackmon to receive help with his alcohol issues before his work as an NFL player hits its full speed. Whatever course Blackmon chooses to take regarding his off-the-field issues, his future cannot include any more alcohol problems if he wishes to stay in the league.
The Jaguars showed a lot of confidence and trust in Blackmon’s skill and character by trading up from the seventh overall pick to the fifth. To make this trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Jaguars exchanged first round picks and gave Tampa Bay their fourth round pick.