Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon are really shaping up to be a couple of the biggest busts in NFL history. They won’t be seen as busts in the traditional way though. They have both had brilliant games over the last couple of seasons – Gordon actually having an incredible season in 2013 – but their own personal lives are getting in the way of them hitting the next level in the NFL.
Josh Gordon was suspended to start 2013. He only missed the first two games of the season, but those two games missed may have been the difference between Gordon and the history books. He did have a history-making pair of games being the only receiver in NFL history to have back-to-back 200+ yard receiving games. But Gordon’s per game average of nearly 118 yards, multiplied by those two missing games, and added to his 14 game total of 1,646 yards adds up to a gigantic 1,882 yards. His yardage total in 2013 was already amazing, but without missing those games he could have posted an all-time great total.
Now Gordon is facing another drug suspension. As if two suspensions in college were not enough, now he will be on his second of his NFL career. He is likely to be suspended for all of 2014 and if he returns to the NFL in 2015 he is likely down to his last chance. That is a bad place to be in for a guy that has only been in the NFL for 2 seasons and is easily a top-3 receiver on fantasy boards.
Justin Blackmon has been on a similar path to Gordon. He has not had the monster games that Gordon has been putting up, but Blackmon has shown that he belongs among the top 20 receivers in the NFL- if he can stay on the field.
Blackmon put some good numbers up in his rookie season – 64 receptions, 865 yards, and 5 TD’s. He promptly followed that up by being suspended for four games to start the 2013 season for violation of the league’s Substance Abuse Policy. When his suspension was over, Blackmon fired out with two big games of 136 yards and a TD and 190 yards respectively. But after only four games on the field in 2013 Blackmon failed another drug test and was suspended indefinitely.
Blackmon will likely miss 2014-like Gordon. Blackmon is also most likely on his final strike with the NFL. If Blackmon and Gordon can get some help and get off of the illegal substances they can have the types of seasons that take fantasy owners all the way to the championships. They have the potential to be the leaders of the next generation of receivers in a pass-friendly NFL. But if they cannot break their old habits, chalk them up as wasted talent.