We continue our list of the Top-25 Jaguars of all-time. I wasn't surprised at the vote for the placement of Bryan Barker at #24, though I guess I was somewhat shocked it wasn't substantially higher for the "Too High" category. With 200 votes in at last count, 53% of you felt Barker was too high on this list, which considering he is a punter and only came in at #24, meant 53% of you felt he didn't belong on our countdown at all. I applaud the other 41% of you who felt Barker was deserving of the #24 spot. Special teams players ARE people too!
I imagine our player at #23 will garner far more favor amongst the readers, and likely some debate about his placement.
As Casey Kasem liked to say, "The countdown rolls on"...
#23 Donovin Darius, S, 1998-2006
If this list were strictly a fan popularity contest, Donovin Darius would likely be a sure bet Top-10 selection. Since being drafted late in the first round of the 1998 draft by the Jags, in which he was somewhat overshadowed by the drafting of Fred Taylor earlier in the same round, Darius was a big hit both on and off the field. Darius was a starter by the third game of his rookie season, and never looked back. He racked up 108 total tackles in his rookie campaign and was named to the NFL All-Rookie team. A full-time starter in 1999, Darius was a member of the defense that ranked number one in points allowed and set many franchise records for the team that went on to the AFC Championship Game. Tackling would wind up becoming "Double D"'s trademark over his Jaguars career. Known for his jarring big hits and exceptional play in run defense, Darius was truly one of the last of the "box safety" breed that played the game more as a fourth or fifth linebacker, than a true safety. For as hard a hitter as he was, Darius managed to remain a staple on the field and at one point had a streak of 37 consecutive games played. His best season as a Jag, and for his career, came in 2004 where he recorded 87 total tackles, a career-high 5 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. Darius was named as a Pro Bowl alternate for that performance, the closest he came to being named to the all-star team in his career. For as good a player as he was against the run, he was at most times a liability in pass defense. Whether it was playing next to guys such as Carnel Lake, Deon Grant, or even Rashean Mathis, Darius was often not the best true safety on the field for the Jags. It's because of this that he is not ranked higher on our list. Darius finished his Jaguars career with a recorded 473 Combined Tackles (2nd in Franchise History), 14 Interceptions (3rd), 24 Passes Defended (8th), and 115 Games Played (6th). His hallmark moment as a Jag was a game against the Green Bay Packers in 2004, in which he made a devastating clothesline tackle on Packers receiver Robert Ferguson, that left Ferguson hospitalized overnight. Darius was fined $75,000 by the league for the hit and visited Ferguson while in the hospital, where he apologzied to him personally. He was released by the team in 2006, following back to back seasons in which he tore his ACL in '05 and suffered a broken leg in '06. Darius signed with the Oakland Raiders in the Winter of 2007, but failed to make the team. He was picked up by the Miami Dolphins and appeared in three games for them during the '07 season, before being released by the team that year. He signed a ceremonial one-day contract to retire a Jaguar in March of 2011, and remains active in the Jacksonville community, doing local sports radio appearances as well as founding a youth sports performance school in the area. To this day Darius remains a fan favorite, and will always be known as a player who gave one hundred percent on the field at all times as well as always embracing the fan base.
The Top-25 List:
#25- Aaron Beasley, CB, 1996-2001
#24- Bryan Barker, P, 1995-2000
#23- Donovin Darius, S, 1998-2006