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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 27 – Cornerback Mekhi Blackmon

Mekhi Blackmon seems to be finding his stride at the right time. Blackmon, the former Colorado Buffalo and USC Trojan, struggled early in his career, giving up quarterback-ratings of 122.3 and 155.9 when targeted. The East Palo Alto native then made a turnaround, improving on his coverage ability in his junior and senior year. In 2022, Blackmon used his final year of eligibility and transferred to USC, where he had his best statistical year in his career, tallying 66 total tackles, 3 interceptions on 12 passes defensed, and a forced fumble. He also surrendered a quarterback rating of 47.6 when targeted.

Blackmon’s forte is playing man coverage, showing fearlessness by lining up against larger slot receivers and tight-ends. Moreover, a solid fit for Blackmon is at the nickel corner position, showing elite ability to successfully mirror slot receivers. In press coverage, Blackmon shows quick feet and agility, with loose hips to quickly change directions when mirroring receivers. Additionally, he shows a physical hand punch upon initial contact in an effort at rerouting receivers at the line. He is also a willing tackler and often gets involved in stopping the run.

As much as Blackmon shows effort in playing a physical game, many experts cite the lack of power behind his physicality, as he is missing that pop when tackling and delivering an initial punch.

Despite the perceived weaknesses, Blackmon is a prospect who is seemingly showing a consistent trend in upside. With some dedication in his strength and conditioning and building his body, he could be a late-round gem in this year’s draft. The Raiders should not hesitate to make the call to Blackmon at pick #174 or #204-overall, depending on how the draft board unfolds.

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