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Jaguars Top 10 Draft Picks: Uche Nwaneri

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A lot of ranking how valuable drafts picks are is the return they give you. In the 2007 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars struck gold with a 5th round pick when they selected offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri out of Purdue with the 149th overall selection. In Nwaneri's rookie season he was active for only 9 games starting just one. In the 2008 season, he was thrown into the fire after the first week of the season.

Then starting offensive guard Vince Manuwai tore his ACL in the Jacksonville Jaguars first game of the season. This injury thrust second year interior lineman Uche Nwaneri into the starting line up for 15 games. Nwaneri struggled early on, as a young player would be expected to, but once he got a feel for the NFL game you could see his play continue upward. In 15 games in the 2008 season, Nwaneri allowed only 4.5 sacks on an offensive line that allowed over 40. After the 2008 season, the Jaguars had Nwaneri and veteran offensive guard Maurice Williams battle for the right guard position with Nwaneri ultimately winning the job.

After winning the job in 2009, Nwaneri started 13 games and was credited with only allowing 0.5 sacks on the season. Not only did Nwaneri do a great job in pass protection, but he started to show signs of a mauling guard who can get to the next level, and would play with the nastiness his counterpart Vince Manuwai was known for. Not only did Nwaneri only allow 0.5 sacks on the 2009 season, but he was also not flagged for a penalty the entire season.

During the 2010 training camp and pre-season, Nwaneri once again was showing more and more signs of improvement and the Jacksonville Jaguars awarded him with a new contract to the tune of 5-years and about $24 million before the start of the season. Not only did Nwaneri surpass his draft position on the field of play, but he's also been very interactive in the community and with fans. He regularly interacts with fans on Twitter and even on the Jaguars official website message boards. Nwaneri has hosted multiple "Gaming 4 The Cause" events, in which current Jaguars players compete against fans in various multi-player games for charity.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got much more than they imagined out of a 5th round pick.

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