Who are the Jacksonville Jaguars best NFL draft picks? Here are the top 10 in franchise history.
Daily Draft: Jacksonville Jaguars Greatest NFL Draft Picks
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Granted, Jacksonville has only been a franchise since 1995, but over two decades this has consistently been among the NFL’s most miserable drafters.
Just how bad have the Jaguars been? Among all their draft picks they’ve had just 21 Pro Bowl seasons with five coming from Tony Boselli, their first ever selection. How many All-Pro seasons have they had? Six, and Boselli had three of them.
Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Harvey, R. Jay Soward, Justin Blackmon, Matt Jones, Byron Leftwich, Reggie Williams – the first round draft picks have been either horrific busts, or they were just average. That’s why this might have be one of the ugliest lists of top ten picks among all the NFL teams.
To make the list, a player had to be drafted by Jacksonville – Mark Brunell was drafted by Green Bay, and Jimmy Smith was drafted by Dallas – had to be around for a long time, and had to do most of his best work for the franchise.
1. OT Tony Boselli, USC
1995, 1st round, 2nd pick overall
Pick Before: RB Ki-Jana Carter, Penn State, drafted by Cincinnati
Pick After: QB Steve McNair, Alcorn State, drafted by Houston
It’s not a positive that the one great pick in the franchise’s history played just seven years and was their first selection ever. Boselli was among the elite of the elite left tackles for a stretch going to five straight Pro Bowls and earning a spot on three All-Pro teams from 1997 to 1999, but injuries took their toll and when the end came, it came quickly. Just outside of the Hall of Fame world, he didn’t have a long enough career, but when he was healthy, he was among the all-time greats.
2. RB Fred Taylor, Florida
1998, 1st round, 9th pick overall
Pick Before: DE Greg Ellis, North Carolina, drafted by Dallas
Pick After: CB Duane Starks, Miami, drafted by Baltimore
A case could be made that he’s the greatest Jacksonville draft pick ever, coming up with 11,271 career yards for the Jaguars with 62 touchdowns, and 286 catches for 2,361 yards and eight scores. Always among the very, very good backs, but not necessarily the elite, he went to just one Pro Bowl even though he ran for over 1,000 yards seven times. Just outside of the Hall of Fame discussion, he’s close, but he’s not quite there.
3. C Brad Meester, Northern Iowa
2000, 2nd round, 60th pick overall
Pick Before: LB Marcus Washington, Auburn, drafted by Indianapolis
Pick After: OG Bobbie Williams, Arkansas, drafted by Philadelphia
Reliability is a big deal, especially when it’s for a player in the middle of the line for over a decade. Meester never went to a Pro Bowl, and he was never a star blocker, but he was around for a long, long time as a mainstay of the Jacksonville interior. A guard for a few years before anchoring the offense at center, he played 14 years starting every game for 11 of them and missing just 15 games total.
4. CB Rashean Mathis, Bethune-Cookman
2003, 2nd round, 39th pick overall
Pick Before: C Al Johnson, Wisconsin, drafted by Dallas
Pick After: LB E.J. Henderson, Maryland, drafted by Minnesota
A very good corner for 12 years before going off to Detroit, Mathis made 30 interceptions with 459 tackles during his time highlighted by one really, really good season. In 2006 he was an All-Pro and earned a Pro Bowl spot coming up with eight interceptions with 56 tackles. That was his one big year, but considering the problems the franchise had finding reliable defenders over the years, his time logged in was a real find.
5. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, UCLA
2006, 2nd round, 60th pick overall
Pick Before: OT Jeremy Trueblood, Boston College, drafted by Tampa Bay
Pick After: TE Tony Scheffler, Western Michigan, drafted by Denver
A terrific all-around back during his eight years before going off to Oakland, MJD went to three Pro Bowls and earned a 2011 All-Pro nod running for over 8,000 yards with 80 touchdowns, and catching 335 passes with 11 scores during his time.
Remember, he was compared often to Reggie Bush – one went to UCLA, the other to USC – and Jacksonville ended up getting a far, far better value with its pick in the second round than New Orleans got with its selection at the No. 2. Once Jones-Drew took over the starting job in 2009, he became special with 15 rushing scores in 2009 and 1,606 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.
6. DT Marcus Stroud, Georgia
2001, 1st round, 13th pick overall
Pick Before: DT Damione Lewis, Miami, drafted by St. Louis
Pick After: OT Kenyatta Walker, Florida, drafted b Tampa Bay
In a mediocre 2001 draft class, Stroud stood out doing a decent job over his seven years going to three Pro Bowls making 213 tackles. He wasn’t much of an interior pass rusher, and he wasn’t truly special for a high first round selection, but he was good enough to help stuff things up for a decent defense.
7. DT John Henderson, Tennessee
2002, 1st round, 9th pick overall
Pick Before: S Roy Williams, Oklahoma, drafted by Dallas
Pick After: OT Levi Jones, Arizona State, drafted by Cincinnati
There were times when he looked like he might be something truly special – going to the Pro Bowl in 2004 and 2006 – but he wasn’t consistent. The ninth overall pick never lived up to his potential before going to off to Oakland. He was a decent anchor, and he was good at gumming things up, but again, for the ninth pick, he needed to be more.
8. LB Daryl Smith, Georgia Tech
2004, 2nd round, 39th pick overall
Pick Before: DB Ricardo Colclough, Tusculum, drafted by Pittsburgh
Pick After: TE Ben Troupe, Florida, drafted by Tennessee
The nine-year Jaguar came up with a steady 537 tackles before going off to Baltimore – and he had one of his best seasons with the Ravens – but longevity matters here. He might not have been dynamic, and he was never an all-star, but he was better than just serviceable during his time. For the 39th pick, nine seasons and 124 starts are pretty good.
9. LB Kevin Hardy, Illinois
1996, 1st round, 2nd pick overall
Pick Before: WR Keyshawn Johnson, USC, drafted by New York Jets
Pick After: DE Simeon Rice, Illinois, drafted by Arizona
While he was hardly worth the No. 2 overall pick, and he had a few good years with Cincinnati after going to Dallas, he came up with one phenomenal season for the Jaguars in 1999, earning All-Pro honors and going to the Pro Bowl after coming up with 74 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He was okay over his six seasons, but considering he needed to be a franchise-changer with where he was picked, he was a disappointment.
10. QB Blake Bortles, UCF
2014, 1st round, 3rd pick overall
Pick Before: OT Greg Robinson, Auburn, drafted by St. Louis
Pick After: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson, drafted by Buffalo
He’s only been around for two years, and he throws a LOT of interceptions with 35 so far, but the 35 touchdown passes in his second year provides far more hope than the known of David Garrard or Byron Leftwich for the all-time Jacksonville drafted quarterback spot. If all goes well, five years from now he’s pushing for the top spot.