We continue the countdown of the Top-25 Greatest Jaguars of All Time today, with the 24th player on our list. Yesterday's poll on the 25th ranked player, Aaron Beasley, suggested that most of you concurred with his ranking. At last check, roughly 75% of readers thought Beasley's placement was the "Perfect Spot".
I'm interested in seeing the response for #24.
#24. Bryan Barker, P, 1995-2000
Yes, I know what you're thinking, "A PUNTER?!", but hey if we're going to back drafting one in the third round, then there's room on this list for the best punter in team history. From the inaugural season in 1995 until his release following the 2000 season, Bryan Barker was the only punter Jaguars fans ever knew. He was also pretty damn good. During the span of his six year Jaguar career, Barker punted for 19,849 yards, averaged 43.5 yards per punt, pinned 33% of his kicks inside the opponent's twenty yard line and only once had a kick ran back for a touchdown. His average longest distance was 67 yards, which was no doubt helped by an 83 yard punt during a Monday Night game against the New York Jets in 1999. Barker was also among the best punters in the league during his Jaguars career, three times finishing in the Top 5 in Net Yardage for the NFL, including being number one in the league in 1995. By comparison, his successor Chris Hanson tallied 18,190 yards, with a 42.9 average, and 16.5% inside the twenty, over a similar six year time frame. Barker, like Hanson, was named to a Pro Bowl in 1999 and like Hanson was an All-Pro selection in his Pro Bowl season. What puts Barker in this spot over Hanson, was his importance to the Coughlin Era Jags. Barker helped put a defense that for most of the team's early success wasn't very good, into positions that allowed them to be sustainable enough to let the offense win games. He also was pivotal as a holder to the success of kicker Mike Hollis during the team's playoff runs of '96-'99, a time in which Hollis was quite possibly the best kicker in the league. As the franchise began their reconstruction out of salary cap hell, Barker was a cap casualty and was released in 2001. He quickly signed and played three seasons with the Washington Redskins until 2003, followed by stints with the Green Bay Packers in 2004, and the St. Louis Rams in 2005. Barker retired from the NFL following the '05 season. He currently resides in Jacksonville with his family, and is the coordinator for the Jaguars Alumni Group. Barker and his wife also founded the "Let Us Play" foundation, organizing camps across NFL cities that allow young inner-city girls to participate in sports.
The Top 25 List:
#25- Aaron Beasley, CB, '96-'01
#24- Bryan Barker, P, '95-'00