If there's one player who needs to have a good combine to be a top 5 draft pick this year, it's Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The college star put up insane numbers at the college level, catching 121 balls for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns in his final season with the Cowboys. But those numbers also show one problem: he lacks the speed to be a deep threat - which is why his per catch average in his last season was just 12.6 yards, compared to a 16.1 yards per catch average in his sophomore season.
Blackmon may be the best receiver in this draft (although speedster Kendall Wright might give him a run for his money), but he's no A.J. Green, Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. He's a possession receiver, who could turn into a player like Hakeem Nicks - or, in a less favorable scenario, like Michael Crabtree. He needs a good combine showing to allay some fears about his speed, and running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash would do much to put those fears to rest.
If Blackmon does have a good showing, he could be in play with the Buccaneers' first pick in the draft. The Bucs couldn't get any production out of their wide receivers last season, and they need someone who is reliable - and preferably someone with some speed to threaten defenses deep. If Blackmon can show that speed, he could be a top 5 draft pick. If he can't, he'll likely fall out of the top 5 and might even fall behind Kendall Wright.
But should it? I'm not a big fan of letting combine numbers determine draft status, but reality is that it does happen. However, if Blackmon runs a stellar 40-yard dash, that won't stop me from wondering about his deep speed. It's one thing to run fast on the track, it's another thing to translate that to deep speed on the field - and Blackmon failed to show that ability on the field his final season in college.