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Blackmon tackles speed questions at Combine

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Dan Parr
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By Dan Parr

INDIANAPOLIS — Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon could be the top wide receiver drafted this year, and he's not expected to last long when teams start making their picks April 26. He's projected to be among the top 10 players selected in the first round, and could go as early the top five, even though evaluators consider his top-end speed only average and his height just ordinary.

Both his speed and height were topics he addressed during his session with the media at the Combine on Friday.

Blackmon said he measured in at 6 feet — an inch or two shorter than he had been listed — and he announced he would not run in Indianapolis because of a hamstring tweak he suffered last week.

"I was actually planning to run the day before I got here, but I listened to the people who were thinking of (my) best interest and I decided not to," Blackmon said.

He'll run at his March 7 pro day instead and said he will participate in just a handful of drills at the Combine, running shorter routes, but "nothing too opened up."

"I'd like to run a 4.2, but I know that's probably not going to happen," he said. "I know I'm not slow, so I'm going to get out there and I'll probably shock a few people."

When asked whether he was shocked after he was measured at 6 feet, Blackmon said not at all.

A general manager who will be taking a hard look at all of Blackmon's attributes is the Rams' Les Snead, with the Rams having a glaring need at receiver and the No. 2 overall pick this year. Snead downplayed Blackmon's measurement as an issue when we spoke with him in the media center Friday.

"I think, if you've been in the NFL a long time, you know media guides usually stretch the limits, but what we train scouts to do — whether it's speed, ability, hands — is go back to the film," Snead told PFW. "If you thought he was a very good player before the height was measured, you should still think that. If you thought he was only an above-average player, you should still think that after the height (is measured)."

Snead, who was hired in St. Louis earlier this month, has experience when it comes to evaluating the top WR talents available in a draft. He previously served as the Falcons' director of player personnel and was involved in the decision-making process leading up to Atlanta's bold trade in the first round last year, which put them in position to draft WR Julio Jones sixth overall.

The Rams are mulling their options, including trading down, with the No. 2 overall pick, but they still could be in a position to land Blackmon.

"(Blackmon's) going to be a top player in this draft," Snead said. "I'm not ready to say (if) he's better or worse than Julio."

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