Written by Josh Haymond @JPesoFF
The conundrum – Both players have had off-field issues, first round pedigree, and enter year 2 after having flashed potential. Who is the more valuable dynasty asset?
Michael Floyd, ARI
After getting hit with two alcohol-related incidents at Notre Dame, Michael Floyd was drafted 13th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. His rookie season left much to be desired. Floyd had a slow start to training camp, being outplayed by several practice squad-level talents. Mid-season, it looked as though Floyd would emerge as an every-week NFL starter, however he continued to make mental mistakes on the field which relegated him back behind Andre Roberts.
Behind poor quarterback play, Floyd caught 6 passes for just 47 yards in week 16, before exploding in week 17 with 8 grabs for 166 yards and a TD. In total, Floyd totaled 45 catches for 562 yards and 2 TD in his rookie season – not terrible all things considered.
Now heading in to his second season, the stars are aligned for Floyd to experience a significant jump in both production and value. This off-season, the Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer, signing him to a 2-year, $16 million deal. Meanwhile Floyd has been taking care of business on his end as well, turning heads all off-season. Reports out of Arizona claim it is a “given” that he breaks out. Although Andre Roberts is a reliable target, he doesn’t provide the upside on the outside to scare defenses.
Floyd touts a large-and-in-charge 6’3’’, 220 lb. stature. He pairs 4.47 wheels and the wingspan of an eagle, channeling his inner Vincent Jackson (as an aside, I’d argue Floyd will grow in to a more complete receiver). Prospectively, Floyd will make seemingly difficult plays look par for the course – you can bet the “wow” factor will pop each week.
Justin Blackmon, JAC
The Jaguars selected Biletnikoff award-winner Justin Blackmon with the 5th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Prior to playing a snap, Blackmon was charged with two drunken driving arrests. Despite a lengthy contract holdout, Blackmon hit the ground running, totaling 64 grabs for 865 yards and 5 TDs. His yards-per-catch average of 13.5 was inflated by a week 11 7-catch, 236-yard performance.
Blackmon, sporting above-average instincts with the football in his hands, is best after the catch. For a man his size (6’1’’, 207 pounds), Blackmon is a physical receiver. When equating Justin Blackmon, think Hakeem Nicks with less vertical ability, less red zone prowess, plus greater off-field risks. He doesn’t have the talent of a perennial Pro Bowler, but will grow in to a serviceable WR2 in fantasy circles.
Blackmon has had his fair share of issues this off-season. Unrelated to his two prior arrests, Blackmon was dinged for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, costing him the first four games of this season. Suspension aside, he is reportedly “too easily distracted” through off-season activities and continues to have mental lapses. He was removed from the sidelines in week 1 of the preseason for arguing with the opposition and his own teammate.
Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne are in the midst of a battle to be Jacksonville’s starting quarterback. Blackmon will be fighting for targets and yards in one of the league’s worst passing situations. Working opposite of Blackmon is Cecil Shorts, third-year man out of Mount Union. Shorts, sidelined with a calf injury, notched 55 catches for 979 yards and 7 TDs last season. Maurice Jones-Drew’s health will also be a key factor in the offense – if MJD can stay healthy, Blackmon will certainly have more room to operate.
Justin Blackmon is a talented player, but his ultimate upside is not as appealing as his counterpart. Michael Floyd, on the other hand, has big play ability that will vault him into the league’s top 10 wide receiver list sooner rather than later.
When coupled with a stronger work ethic, better short-term QB situation, and learning from future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd is the winner of this battle.
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