Mekhi Blackmon has gone from Colorado transfer trekking to USC to becoming one of the fastest rising NFL Draft prospects for the Trojans, as he’s been praised for his aggressiveness and versatility in the secondary.
But as he gets closer to his NFL dreams through the NFL Draft, he was in for this treat on a rainy USC Pro Day on Tuesday, March 21: Performing drills in front of personnel from his favorite team the San Francisco 49ers.
While Blackmon previously said at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine he spoke with the Niners in Indianapolis, the native of East Palo Alto, California in the Bay Area didn’t shy away from letting it be known he hopes to be a 49er.
“The home team. That’ll be a dream,” Blackmon said to reporters following his workout at Allyson Felix Stadium.
Blackmon Comes With Extensive Bay Area Roots, Had Cousin Who Played for 49ers
While he starred in Southern California for one season, Blackmon has deep Bay Area ties.
For starters, he’s cousins to Fresno State record-breaking wide receiver KeeSean Johnson — who was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2019 draft but had a brief stop with the 49ers from January 26, 2022 to August 15, 2022, as he was waived by S.F.
And in being from “The EPA,” he hails from the same city that produced perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams…with Blackmon even playing on the same AAU basketball team that had a young Adams.
Blackmon starred at Menlo-Atherton High at wide receiver while also playing defense. He eventually settled for the latter at College of San Mateo, which included playing in the 2017 California state title game for the junior college level.
Blackmon Carries Chip & Feels Strong About Draft Day Prospects
Blackmon didn’t allow the inclement weather that battered the Golden State for USC’s Pro Day bother him. He still showed his backpedal and hands with rain falling.
He was asked what the highs and lows were for him throughout this pre-draft process. He instead dove into what gives him a chip on his shoulder.
“It’s mainly highs, just showing people who you are. I feel like I was underestimated. Just me showing out and going against guys who were ranked higher than me before the combine is real good to show guys what I can do,” Blackmon said.
He additionally believes lining up against a stacked wide receiver group — featuring one potential first rounder in Jordan Addison — made him stronger as a defender.
“I’d say I really shot up last year. I had a really good offense that prepped me with going against Jordan and Mario (Williams) everyday was only good for me,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon’s strengths are his aggression in man coverage — which includes disrupting a receiver’s routes in press man with one quick, accurate strike to the chest numbers. And he’s shown he can travel deep and adjust to the ball, channeling his WR past:
USC trusted him to take on slot wide receivers and perimeter targets. But does he already have an idea of where he’ll get situated in ’23?
“Some teams say nickel, others say strictly outside. So it’ll be interesting to see,” Blackmon said.
Overall, he believes he’s put together two strong showings at Indianapolis and Los Angeles and feels good about his draft prospects.
“I’d say scouts take it into account, knowing me as a man corner. I was one of the highest graded, so I feel like they see that. And the way they’re speaking to me, I’m looking forward to draft day,” he said.
Room for 1 More Trojan in S.F.?
It’s no secret — USC has created quite the pipeline to the Bay Area dating back to legend Ronnie Lott and now featuring Talanoa Hufanga and Drake Jackson. Could Blackmon be next?
It’ll be hard for Blackmon to find room at nickelback. The 49ers signed Isaiah Oliver to help man that role and 2022 rookie Samuel Womack is another option. The 49ers may even be convinced to move playoff star Deommodore Lenoir there, as he’s played in a spot like that before while at Oregon.
But, the team still needs to address who can provide depth for Lenoir and Charvarius Ward with Emmanuel Moseley off to Detroit and Jason Verrett an unrestricted free agent. Perhaps Blackmon could fill space…and play for the “dream” team.