Blackmon tore his Achilles during practice on October 20, 2021 and missed Indy’s next 11 games.
Without Blackmon, the Colts stumbled to a 9-8 win-loss record and missed the postseason for the fifth time in the past seven years.
A rejuvenated Blackmon not only shores up Indy’s secondary, but also improves the team’s postseason chances in 2022.
Can Julian Blackmon Exceed Expectations In 2022?
Blackmon, the Colts’ unheralded third-round pick out of Utah, replaced the injured Malik Hooker as Indy’s starting free safety early in the 2020 NFL campaign.
It didn’t take long for him to earn the trust of coaches, teammates, and fans alike.
JULIAN BLACKMON CALLED GAME!!
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 18, 2020
Blackmon also forced a fumble on the Green Bay Packers’ Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Week 11.
His heroics helped the Colts prevail in overtime, 34-31.
It seemed Blackmon was going to build on his promising rookie campaign when the unfortunate injury occurred.
To compound matters, it was Blackmon’s second freak injury in a span of just 19 months – he tore his left knee in his final game with the Utah Utes in 2020.
Regrettably, Blackmon’s torn Achilles is in the same leg where he injured his knee in college.
With that in mind, Blackmon has a good chance of re-injuring his left Achilles.
Of course, Colts fans hope that won’t happen in 2022.
Blackmon has put in the work so he could take the field this season.
He’s just 23 years old – he has a lot of football left in him.
If the Kenny Moore II holdout ends sooner than later, it bodes well for Blackmon and co.
Blackmon has an uncanny ability to step into the passing lane – he knows how to set himself up for either a deflection or an interception.
He can also ward off blockers so he can tackle the running back.
With him around, Indy should improve its 19th-ranked pass defense (234.1 passing yards allowed per game in 2021).
Blackmon is a valuable and versatile weapon for Colts defensive backs coach Ron Milus.
Blackmon can exceed expectations in the 2022 NFL season.
He was on pace to exceed his solid rookie campaign until he tore his Achilles prior to Week 7 in 2021.
OTAs continuing here at the #Colts complex.
And look who it is. No. 32 is back on the field. Julian Blackmon back in the mix after tearing his Achilles last October. First time we’re seeing him out there with the team. pic.twitter.com/XnqfZek4w6
— Taylor Tannebaum (@TaylorTannebaum) June 1, 2022
Breaking stories of Blackmon’s impending return and recovery have been encouraging, to say the least.
That’s bad news for the rest of the NFL.
Blackmon has the potential to become a top-notch safety a la Antoine Bethea – one of the best free safeties in Colts franchise history.
If Blackmon’s Achilles holds up, expect him to come out with all guns blazing in the 2022 NFL season.
He will exceed expectations for the Horseshoe this season – count on it.