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Is Justin Blackmon an elite WR prospect?


Justin Blackmon is widely considered the best receiver in this month's draft, but the jury is out on whether he's an elite player.

When Rob Rang of CBS Sports polled three NFL teams Friday night, all agreed that two quarterbacks, one offensive tackle, one running back and one cornerback classified as "elite" players in this draft. Presumably that includes Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil and Morris Claiborne.

None of the teams were willing to make the "elite" claim for Blackmon.

In their latest mock drafts, NFL Network's Charley Casserly, Charles Davis and Albert Breer project Blackmon falling to the St. Louis Rams at No. 6.'s Chad Reuter sees the Cleveland Browns picking Blackmon at No. 4.

A.J. Green went to the Bengals at No. 4 last season, and Julio Jones to the Falcons at No. 6. Casserly this week rated Blackmon behind both receivers because Green and Jones "are more sudden and have more speed" than the Oklahoma State wideout.

Could Notre Dame's Michael Floyd overtake Blackmon?

"I would rate Blackmon ahead of him because I think he's smoother," Casserly said on NFL Network this week. "I think he separates from his routes better. I think his hands are better -- though Floyd's hands are good, too. And I think his run after the catch is better there because he's smoother and that's where he has an edge there. It's not a great edge, but it's an edge."

The upside for Blackmon in all of this? He'll have a chance to prove three NFL teams wrong once he finds a home.