The Jacksonville Jaguars hold the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft, which kicks off this Thursday night. But if history is any indication of what the Jaguars should do, then you should be praying that they trade out of it. Why? Because the majority of guys picked third-overall have been complete and total busts.
Let's start with 2001. After a 3-13 season in which they led the league in yards punted, the Cleveland Browns took defensive tackle Gerard Warren from Florida... ahead of seven-time Pro Bowler Richard Seymour and fellow SEC standout Marcus Stroud. Warren played 11 seasons on four teams, switching back and forth between different positions on the defensive line. He never played less than 12 games in a season and played in at least 15 games in nine of his 12 years in the league.
In 2002, the Detroit Lions made quarterback Joey Harrington the No. 3 selection. Only once did Harrington finish a season with more touchdowns than interceptions. But to be fair to Detroit, the quarterback class of 2002 was awful. David Garrard was the best guy drafted that year.
2003 through 2005 saw three wide receivers in a row at No. 3: Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Braylon Edwards. In hindsight, Johnson and Fitzgerald were certainly worthy of a top-three pick, but Edwards never panned out for the Browns, who drafted him... most likely because his starting quarterbacks were Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Ken Dorsey, and Bruce Gradkowski.
In 2006, after a Rose Bowl MVP performance in the national championship game, the Tennessee Titans made quarterback Vince Young their guy at No. 3. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2006, but he only played in 45 games after that season.
In 2007, the Cleveland Browns (again!) held the No. 3 spot and grabbed offensive tackle Joe Thomas from Wisconsin. Thomas is one of the best tackles in the league and hasn't missed a game in his career.
The Atlanta Falcons held the No. 3 pick in 2008 and made Matt Ryan their franchise quarterback. Ryan is arguably the best quarterback in Falcons history and is currently hitting the prime of his career.
In 2009, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to grab DE Tyson Jackson and turn him into a 3-4 DE. He struggled his first few years, but came around in 2011 to be a solid contributor on Kansas City's defensive line. However, he was never the elite presence that GM Scott Pioli envisioned his first-ever draft pick to have.
2010 and 2011 saw defensive linemen picked at No. 3 overall. Gerald McCoy, who was hampered by injuries early in his career, was selected by Tampa Bay. He was arguably one of the best defensive linemen in the game in 2013. Marcell Dareus has helped improve an ailing Buffalo pass rush, and contributed 7.5 sacks to their record-setting season last year.
In 2012, the Cleveland Browns selected running back Trent Richardson who just hasn't shown himself to be very good during his two-year career. Knowing that, the Browns (somehow) got the Indianapolis Colts to give up a first-round draft pick for him last year, but he still hasn't shown he's anywhere near that value.
And finally, in 2013, the Miami Dolphins selected defensive end Dion Jordan at No. 3. Time will tell how Jordan pans out, but his rookie season was an unmitigated disaster. He didn't start a single game and averaged less than one tackle per game.
So, if history is any judge as to how the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft will turn out, the Jaguars would be best served drafting a defensive lineman, an offensive tackle, or a wide receiver. They'd be taking a gamble at quarterback and a running back would be out of the question.
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