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Move to safety propels Utah’s Julian Blackmon up mock draft boards

Julian Blackmon the Utah cornerback has good height, but otherwise is probably a priority free agent.

But Julian Blackmon the Utah safety could hear his name called as early as Day 2 during the 2020 NFL draft.

The 6-foot-1, 204-pound senior made the transition over the offseason, moving from outside cornerback to free safety. It appears the move suits him. Blackmon finished the regular season with 60 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 8 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles. Most of those numbers either equaled or surpassed Blackmon’s previous career-highs.

But you have to go beyond basic statistics to appreciate how important Blackmon’s move was to his draft stock.

 

Blackmon had the fourth-best grade at free safety in the country this season at 89.8, according to Pro Football Focus, allowing 5 receptions for 63 yards over 324 snaps at the position and a 30.4 passer rating. By comparison, he gave up 786 yards receiving with a passer rate of 131.7 in 2018, according to PFF.

Blackmon was among several players recently highlighted by PFF in its report on the most-underrated players of 2019.

And he was recently named as the biggest sleeper prospect at safety by The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.

Blackmon is currently the No. 143 prospect in the Fanspeak-Jake big board, although he’s likely to move up the rankings in the coming weeks.



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