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Black and Teal Legends: Counting Down the Top Twenty-Five Jaguars of All-Time (#17)

We continue our list of the Top-25 Jaguars of all-time. First, let me start by wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July, especially to those of you who have served our nation. As a veteran myself, I know how good it feels sometimes to just be recognized for the time and sacrifices we made for the betterment of this country. The polling for our #18 player, Brad Meester, was the closest vote we've had so far in the series. Out of 222 votes at last count, 47% of you thought Meester was too low on the list, while 42% felt the spot was a perfect fit. My biggest reasoning for Meester there, was while he's been an anchor and by far the most durable Jaguar in history, his play on the field has been somewhat inconsistent through his time in a Jags uniform.

When it comes to consistent play on the offensive line, our #17 player was the definition of just that for a long time.

Rolling on...

#17. Vince Manuwai, G, 2003-2010

No offensive lineman, with perhaps the exception of Tony Boselli, played with more tenacity and that "punch you in the jaw" attitude, than Vinny Manuwai.

Coming to the Jaguars as the team's third round selection in the 2003 draft, Manuwai became the interior steam-roller that the franchise had never had but had always been looking for. Manuwai started all but one game in his rookie season, and instantly became the best lineman on the team. During that rookie campaign, Manuwai began making a name for himself on a national level, as he absolutely dominated future Hall of Famer Warren Sapp during a nationally televised Sunday Night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Manuwai would go on to start the next four seasons without missing a game, before he tore his ACL and MCL in the season opener against Tennessee in 2008. He was perhaps the most intrical piece of a line that became one of the most dominant run blocking units in the NFL, and played a siginfigant role in the team's return to the post-season in '05 & '07. While never recognized with an election to the Pro Bowl, Manuwai was twice and alternate, and was named to several "Most Underrated" teams by national publications throughout his career. Whether a testament to his play during the peak of his career, or how poorly the Jaguars drafted linemen, there was never a time over the course of his time in Jacksonville, where Manuwai wasn't the best lineman on the team.

He struggled to return to form in the 2009 season, while recovering from his double knee injury. In the 2010 season, Manuwai was beaten out by Justin Smiley to begin the regular season. He replaced Smiley following an injury mid-season, and played more closely to the level he showed before the injury. However, Manuwai never returned to the dominant play he showed before the '08 injury. He showed up out of shape and overweight to training camp in 2011, and was subsequently released after not being able to practice for most of camp.

In the 2012 off-season, Manuwai signed with the Atlanta Falcons. As it stands, he remains the best interior lineman to ever put on the teal, black, and gold jersey. On a personal note, I had several run ins with him at the poker tables of the St. Johns Poker Room, and would like to thank him to contributing to my childrens' college funds. He was a great guy with the fans, and I wish him well in his opportunity with Atlanta.

The Top-25 List:

#25. Aaron Beasley, CB, 1996-2001

#24. Bryan Barker, P, 1995-2000

#23. Donovin Darius, S, 1998-2006

#22. David Garrard, QB, 2002-2010

#21. Josh Scobee, K, 2004-Present

#20. Kyle Brady, TE, 1999-2006

#19. Kevin Hardy, LB, 1996-2001

#18. Brad Meester, C, 2000-Present

#17. Vince Manuwai, G, 2003-2010