Grading Draft Picks

10 Best and Worst Jaguars draft picks in Franchise history.

The Worst

10. Reggie Nelson – I always liked Reggie Nelson coming out of college, even though he went to UF, and after his rookie season, showed a lot of promise. His play though fell off, and ultimately was traded to Cincinnati for our favorite DB David Jones. Since then Reggie hasn’t been doing so bad for himself as a Bengal.

9. D’Anthony Smith – Not quite considered a bust yet, but if he doesn’t make some sort of an impact this year, he will be a 2nd round pick who never even saw the field.

8. Quentin Groves – Could be higher if not shadowed by our 1st round selection that year, but after drafted out of Auburn in the 2nd round, was more of a laughing stock than a contributor on defense. (ex. Tripping on the open walk into the end zone)

7. Fernando Bryant – Drafted in the 1st round and never really got going or contributed. He played 5 seasons with the Jaguars, and never played as the player he was drafted to be. He struggled throughout his tenure and was dealt to the Lions in 2004.

6. Bryon Leftwich – Many, including myself, I think saw promise for Leftwich after his rookie season, but he fell off very fast, and was forgotten after Garrard lead the upset in Pittsburgh.

5. Adam Podlesh – This would not be on this list had we not drafted Anger in the 3rd round this year, but drafting two punters in the first four rounds in the span of 6 years is ridiculous. Podlesh should have been treated more seriously, and hopefully Anger is so we don’t repeat something this embarrassing.

4. Reggie Williams – Drafted a year before Matt Jones, Williams was drafted with the 9th overall pick to try to fill the hole Jimmy Smith would leave in the Jaguars receiving corp. He came into the league from Washington, and offered some production at the wide receiver position. He had off the field issues though, and his production wasn’t enough from a selection of his stature, and is considered an overall bust. (Reggie Williams did though offer some good entertainment on NFL Network’s 2004 ‘Jaguars Summer’)

3. Matt Jones – Drafted a year after Reggie Williams, Matt Jones was a converted QB turned WR from Arkansas, and his speed and size seemed like a mismatch to exploit against any defense. Jones though decided to be a true Jaguar wide receiver though and follow a path of drugs and off the field issues. He showed flashes of greatness, displaying his great hands and circus catches, but proved to be nothing more than another distraction. Although drafted lower than Reggie Williams, his negative impact on the Jaguars was much greater.

2.Derrick Harvey – Coming out of Florida Harvey looked the part of an elite DE at the NFL level, so much that the Jaguars moved up to the 8th overall pick to select Harvey in 2008. Harvey never got it going and was benched multiple times for his lack of production in favor of some relatively no name players. After a decent rookie season, 3.5 sacks in 9 games started, Harvey struggled to make an impact as a full time starter, as his stats declined while his playing time increased. Harvey was soon feeling the pressure of becoming a huge bust, and honestly didn’t even seem to try to turn the perspective. Harvey also was not a good media topic, holding out for a long time as a rookie.

1. R. Jay Soward – Out of USC, Soward seemed like a pure talent at WR that the Jaguars couldn’t pass up in the 1st round in 2000. He immediately had problems with the team in training camp, and also struggled heavily with drugs and alcohol. Coach Coughlin would send a limo to bring Soward to practice just to make sure he was there. He publicy spoke about his alcohol problems, and his difficulty translating into the NFL. He said that he wished the Jaguars passed on him in the draft, so that he didn’t have to bear the pressure of a 1st round selection. Soward played almost none for the Jaguars, and has since bounced around the Canadian and Indoor leagues.

Notable others: Renaldo Wynn, Cordell Taylor

The Best

10. John Henderson – Big John Henderson is a personal favorite, and an all time great Jaguar. A 9th overall pick in the first round in 2002 from Tennessee, Big Hen was drafted as a monster DT at 6’7” 325+ to solidify the inside next to Marcus Stroud. Henderson and Stroud combined as one of the most frightening DT pairs in the league, and not just because of their massive size. Big John used to get slapped pre-game by a trainer, and was also one of the team characters. Hen is a true Jag.

9. Donovin Darius – Donovin Darius might be the best secondary player in Jaguars history, only because of Rashean’s play over the past years. Darius though played safety, and strong safety at that. He was a big time player and a big time hitter, a proven master of the clothesline. A late first round pick out of Syracuse, Darius was drafted as the highest DB in Jaguars history. He played from 1998-2006 with the Jags before a series of injuries, but finished his tenure as the greatest Jaguar secondary player in franchise history.

8. Rashean Mathis – Rashean Mathis has challenged Darius as the greatest DB to wear teal, and is not done proving himself just yet. Mathis is another personal favorite since joining the team in 2003, after being drafted in the second round behind infamous Byron Leftwich. Rashean is a Jacksonville native, and has played his entire career as a Jaguar. He is the franchise record holder for interceptions, passes defended, interception return yards, and defensive touchdowns. Rashean is coming off some great play and an unfortunate injury, but if he can contribute more to the team, will be regarded as the teams all-time best DB.

7. Brad Meester – Brad Meester is a true professional and a true Jaguar. He was drafted in the second round in 2000, and since then has been the definition of consistency. If not for Tony Boselli, Meester would be the best Jaguar OL in history, but is not far behind. He is the longest tenured Jaguar, and continues to prove his worth to the team year in and year out. He has been one of the most solid centers in the league for the past decade, and will go down as a Jaguar great.

6. Daryl Smith – Daryl Smith is a little bit of a wildcard on this list, but I think is one, if not the most underrated players in the NFL. He was drafted in the second round in 2004 out of Georgia Tech. He is a true blue-collar player, working hard and very humble. Daryl has quietly snuck up on the NFL as one of the best outside linebackers in the league, and is constantly displaying his talent. Smith is not an outspoken player, which may hurt his chance to have better notoriety, but since 2010 has been the franchise leader in tackles, and shows no signs of slowing down. It seems like the line backing corp. has been in a constant shuffle, with the exception of Daryl. Smith is an essential part to our team, but at times can go unnoticed.

5. Kevin Hardy – Kevin Hardy is another favorite and great Jaguar. He is regarded as the Jaguars best linebacker (with regards to Daryl Smith who has the chance to take over that title by his career end) who played in the Jaguar glory years (1996-1999). He was a part of the 1999 team that only lost three games, all to the hated Titans, ultimately falling a game short of the Super Bowl. I won’t go on a rant about how much I hate the Titans, although I’d love to, ill more importantly refer to how Kevin Hardy helped solidify a defense that matched the ferocity portrayed by that 99’ Jaguar offense. Hardy was drafted 2nd overall in the first round out of Illinois, and if not for injuries and only 6 years with the team, he would be higher on this list.

4. Marcus Stroud – Marcus Stroud, who coincidentally just signed a one-day contract to retire a Jag, is another pick who could be higher on this list. Stroud was drafted in the 1st round in 2001 out of Georgia as a freak DT who came from one of the best DT draft classes to date. Stroud proved he was worthy to be in the company of his draft mates, dominating as a DT for many years in the NFL. Stroud did not start his rookie year, but once paired with Big John Henderson in 2002, became an unstoppable force I’ve heard called Hurricane Henderstroud. Stroud and Henderson together were two huge figures and stars of the Jaguars, along with two of the best DTs in the league.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew – MJD is currently the heart and soul of the Jaguars. He is consistent and powerful, proving himself as one of the league’s premier backs if not the best. He was passed on by every team in the first round in 2006, and taken by the Jags in the early second, after selecting his UCLA teammate Marcedes Lewis in the first. Ever since falling to the second round, Jones-Drew has had a chip on his shoulder to prove all the teams and critics wrong for doubting him. His size and stature is unique, and defenses have a very hard time shutting Drew down. Coming into the league, Jones-Drew was paired with Fred Taylor, and the two became one of the most prolific 1-2 punches in the league. After Fred’s departure, Maurice took over completely, and has led the team ever since. Even with the league’s worst passing offense last year, MJD lead the league in rushing yards, which is ridiculous if you think about it. With the horrible passing attack last year, defenses constantly stacked 8 or even 9 in the box to shut down our lone star in Jones-Drew. Drew only ran for 1606 yards, which led the NFL. Those are incredible numbers considering the situation, and MJD has proven his stardom in Jacksonville. He has the chance to one day be the greatest player in Jaguar history, the only problem is he currently is tracking down Fred Taylor, which will be hard to ever beat.

2. Tony Boselli – Tony Boselli is regarded as the greatest player to ever put on a Jaguar jersey (Tony Boselli/Fred Taylor?). He was the second overall pick in the 1995 draft, and the first player drafted by the Jaguar franchise. After one of the greatest tenures in LT history, Boselli still serves as an important role in the Jaguar organization to this day. He is the definition of a professional and his tremendous talent and production helped protect Brunell for years, and also propel the Jaguars to the playoffs. A huge and dominant LT at 6’7”, Boselli played 7 seasons with the Jaguars, before being selected by the Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft. Like a true Jaguar though, and with some injuries also, Boselli did not play for the Texans, and retired a Jaguar the following year. Tony Boselli is one of the most loved Jaguars of all time, and also one of the best.

1. Fred Taylor – A tough decision between Fred Taylor and Tony Boselli for the number 1 spot, but ultimately I’ll award the title to Fred. Freddy T is my personal favorite Jaguar and football player of all time. Drafted out of Florida in 1998 (the one time I’ll let a UF player slide) Fred came into the league as an explosive talent who had a lot to prove. Fred was a quiet player when he came to the league, but soon emerged as a team leader and star. Fred almost instantly started his career a stud, breaking huge runs and plays all over his rookie season. Fred continued to be a horse, rushing for 11,695 career yards which is a franchise leading number, also good enough to put him 15th in the history of the NFL. Fred was plagued by injury trouble throughout his career, as he even gained the nickname ‘Fragile Fred’, but still ran into the history books. Fred Taylor is a class act, mentoring many Jaguars, and even recently contributing more and more to the Jaguars organization. Fred will soon be honored in the Pride of the Jaguars, as the second player, along side of Tony Boselli. Fred Taylor is the best draft pick in Jaguars history, and it will be hard to ever surpass him.

Notable others: James Stewart, Tony Brackens, David Garrard, Greg Jones,

This is my first post on here so let me know what y’all think. Go Seminoles, and more importantly go Jags!

FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors of Big Cat Country or SB Nation.

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