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5 best draft classes for the Jacksonville Jaguars

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Tony Boselli #71...
Tony Boselli
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With the 2017 NFL Draft quickly approaching, let’s take a look at what I consider the five best draft classes for the Jacksonville Jaguars since the franchise’s inception in 1995.

There are of 22 total draft classes to choose from and these are the best.

5. Class of 2001

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcus Stroud
Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Picks (round):

  1. Marcus Stroud (1)
  2. Maurice Williams (2)
  3. Eric Westmoreland (3)
  4. James Boyd (3)
  5. David Leaverton (5)
  6. Chad Ward (6)
  7. Anthony Denman (7)
  8. Marlon McCree (7)
  9. Richmond Flowers (7)
  10. Randy Chevrier (7)

Marcus Stroud was a force on the defensive line in Jacksonville. Stroud, a three-time Pro Bowler, had 424 combined tackles, eight forced fumbles and nearly 30 sacks in his career. He was second-team All-Pro in 2003.

Williams gave the Jaguars versatility and consistency on the offensive line. He played at both left tackle and right guard. Williams appeared in 105 games, starting 100 of them.

Marlon McCree was a huge value as a seventh-rounder. Although McCree only stayed in Jacksonville for two full seasons, he was a big contributor. McCree had seven interceptions and more than 120 combined tackles in his two-plus seasons with the Jaguars.


4. Class of 2002

Jacksonville Jaguars v Buffalo Bills
David Garrard
Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Picks (round):

  1. John Henderson (1)
  2. Mike Pearson (2)
  3. Akin Ayodele (3)
  4. David Garrard (4)
  5. Chris Luzar (4)
  6. Clenton Ballard (6)
  7. Kendall Newson (7)
  8. Steve Smith (7)
  9. Hayden Epstein (7)

Pairing John Henderson with Stroud provided the best tandem of interior defensive linemen the city of Jacksonville has ever seen. Henderson’s career stats were almost identical to Stroud’s – the two even played in the exact same amount of games (146).

Akin Ayodele was an immediate contributor as a third-round pick. He went on to start 46 games – recording 343 total tackles and eight forced fumbles with the Jaguars.

We all know about David Garrard – a mid-rounder who started 76 games for the Jaguars. He led the team to a playoff victory, finished with a winning record and threw 89 touchdown passes. Not too shabby for a fourth-round pick.

Mike Pearson was a disappointment due to his inconsistent play, but he did start 33 games at left tackle for the Jaguars.


3. Class of 1998

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans - October 22, 2006
Fred Taylor
Photo by Bob Levey/NFLPhotoLibrary

Picks (round):

  1. Fred Taylor (1)
  2. Donavin Darius (1)
  3. Cordell Taylor (2)
  4. Jonathan Quinn (3)
  5. Tavian Banks (4)
  6. Harry Deligianis (4)
  7. John Wade (5)
  8. Lamanzer Williams (6)
  9. Kevin McLeod (6)
  10. Alvis Whitted (7)
  11. Brandon Tolbert (7)

This class was more top heavy, but I have to include a class that saw two of Jacksonville’s most well-known players in Fred Taylor and Donovin Darius.

Taylor ranks 17th in NFL history with 11,695 rushing yards. He was a first-team All-Pro selection and a Pro Bowler in 2007. Taylor, of course, is a member of the Pride of the Jaguars.

Darius had a good NFL career with 623 combined tackles, 14 interceptions and two sacks. He played with the Jaguars for nine seasons and his 470 solo tackles as a Jaguar rank third all-time in team history.

John Wade, a fifth-round pick, was a bargain at center as well. Wade started 110 career games. For Jacksonville, he appeared in 54 games and started 34 of those.


2. Class of 1996

Jets v Jaguars
Tony Brackens
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Picks (round):

  1. Kevin Hardy (1)
  2. Tony Brackens (2)
  3. Michael Cheever (2)
  4. Aaron Beasley (3)
  5. Reggie Barlow (4)
  6. Jimmy Herndon (5)
  7. John Fisher (6)
  8. Chris Doering (6)
  9. Clarence Jones (7)
  10. Gregory Spann (7)

While the offensive players in the class never amounted to much, Jacksonville struck gold on defense.

Kevin Hardy was a first-team All-Pro in 1999, while also earning a trip to the Pro Bowl that year. He finished his career with 741 total tackles, 36 sacks, nine forced fumbles and five interceptions.

Tony Brackens was a menace. He is the Jaguars’ all-time sack leader with 55. Brackens added 27 forced fumbles and 13 fumble recoveries to his resume. He was a second-team All-Pro selection in 1999. He earned his only Pro Bowl nod that season, too. Brackens played his entire career in Jacksonville.

Aaron Beasley was a great value pick in the third round. He was responsible for more than 400 combined tackles, 8.5 sacks, 24 interceptions and 29 pass deflections. His 15 interceptions as a Jag rank second in team history.


1. Class of 1995

Brian DeMarco
Brian DeMarco
Getty Images

Picks (round):

  1. Tony Boselli (1)
  2. James Stewart (1)
  3. Brian DeMarco (2)
  4. Bryan Schwartz (2)
  5. Chris Hudson (3)
  6. Rob Johnson (4)
  7. Mike Thompson (4)
  8. Ryan Christopherson (5)
  9. Marcus Price (6)
  10. Curtis Marsh (7)

Jacksonville’s first ever draft class was also its best.

Tony Boselli is likely going to be Jacksonville’s first Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee. Despite his short career, he’s part of the Pride of the Jaguars and the 1990s All-Decade Team. Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowler and made first-team All-Pro three times.

James Stewart was never a 1,000-yard rusher for Jacksonville, but he led the team in rushing three times. Brian DeMarco started 39 games at tackle for the Jaguars before spinal damage ended his career. Bryan Schwartz was also a big contributor at linebacker, recording 261 tackles and forcing five fumbles.

While the Jaguars found several starters in this draft for their first year in the league, the Boselli pick alone could solidify this class’ standing on the list.


Honorable mention: 2014

Thoughts about Blake Bortles aside, the Jaguars found six players in that draft who are currently starters or regular contributors: Bortles, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Brandon Linder, Aaron Colvin and Telvin Smith.


This was difficult. The 2006 class barely missed the cut. I also believe we’ll be seeing the 2016 class on this list in the near future, but too early to tell right now.

All of my picks are from the original Tom Coughlin era. Deal with it.

I’m ready for the debate. Which is your favorite draft class?

Poll

Which draft class was Jacksonville’s best?

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    1995
    (174 votes)
  • 17%
    1996
    (93 votes)
  • 22%
    1998
    (121 votes)
  • 0%
    2001
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    2002
    (18 votes)
  • 24%
    Other
    (136 votes)
547 votes total Vote Now