+College football’s best route runner
+Terrific run blocker that loves the game, son of Jeff Blake
-Neither quick nor fast, usually a death sentence for wide receivers
-Can’t create yards after the catch
-Occasionally traps passes against frame
Auburn wide receiver Emory Blake is a scrappy, lovable player. I think he is one of the most underrated prospects of the draft. He may lack a great physical skill set, but his on field intensity and incredible feel for the game give him a chance for success at the NFL level. The head fakes he uses in his routes are pretty much unfair and I haven’t seen a guy as intense a backside run blocker as a wide receiver since Eric Decker. The on field intensity is just awesome.
Blake has below average measurables. He has solid size at 6’1, 191, but below average speed with a 4.58 40 yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com, and believe me, that lack of speed shows up on film. I honestly feel like that if Blake ran a 4.40, he’d be a top 10 pick, because his feel for the game is off the charts (he could already be coaching), but he is a pretty slow player and that’s going to limit his ceiling at the NFL level.
Blake has solid stats. Auburn’s passing game has been hilariously bad the last two years, but he has produced in spite of it. In 2012, he had 50 catches for 789 yards and 3 touchdowns. May not sound like much on the surface, but given the fact that Auburn only had 1879 passing yards last year, 789 for an individual player sounds pretty good. He’s always maintained a surprisingly high yards per catch, even though he neither gets yards after the catch nor wins jump balls, most likely because he defensive backs so off balance with his deceptive routes that he’ll find himself wide open down field.
Blake could teach a lot of NFL receivers how to run routes. Son of former NFL quarterback Jeff Blake, Blake runs the best routes in college football. The head fakes he uses are deceptive to the point of being downright unfair. Although his feet aren’t quick, they’re balanced, and he can execute excellent double moves to get defenders off balance and get upon. Said moves usually include a sick head fake for good measure. His eyes are extremely deceptive and he has flashed the ability to follow the ball’s shadow so the corner struggles to read his eyes. He never, ever gives anything away with his eyes. His dad taught him well. In addition, he knows how to read zone coverage and find holes in the zone. The one difficulty Blake will have in the NFL here is that, no matter how good he sells the fake, corners won’t take many risks against him because they don’t fear getting burned. Still, routes like his can’t help but produce some results, and his fundamentals are so advanced that he should be able to make some contribution immediately in the NFL.
Blake has above average hands. He is fearless over the middle and isn’t afraid to make catches in traffic. He can’t win a jump ball to save his life, but he can make catches along the sideline and adjust to the poorly thrown football (lots of practice there). He occasionally drops passes against his frame, but he’s a net positive at this end.
Blake is an awesome run blocker. You really don’t see a lot of wide receivers getting pancakes when they’re blocking on the backside. They’re rarely within 25 yards of the ball. But Blake doesn’t care. He puts maximum effort onto every play, and it makes him a huge positive. His strength is terrific, he plays with on field intensity that can only be matched by Eric Decker or the guy I’m comparing Blake to, he’s got solid length, and, as always, he uses great fundamentals. Definitely a major asset at this end.
Blake isn’t much of a threat after the catch. He can’t really beat a guy in a short distance race or a long distance race, and that’s a problem. He doesn’t change directions with ease and can’t really outrun anyone. That being said, he does have some strength and power and his vision is above average.
I love Blake. He loves the game, and his feel for the game gives him a chance to make a small, positive contribution the day he signs with an NFL team. He probably won’t be drafted, but there’s no doubt he’s worth having.
NFL Comparison: A slow Reggie Wayne
Grade: 67 (worthy of an early to mid 4th round pick)
Projection: UD (probably won’t be drafted)