The Jacksonville Jaguars currently have a young and talented nucleus of wide receivers. Despite a down year last year, players like Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee are fun to watch, and I think many Jaguars fans are excited to see what rookie Dede Westbrook can do also.
So, that got me thinking. Who was my favorite Jaguars wide receiver to watch of all-time? Now the easy answer, and rightfully so, is Jimmy Smith, who leads the Jaguars in nearly all relevant career receiving statistics. And while Smith is one of my all-time favorite Jaguars, my favorite wide receiver to wear the teal and black was actually Smith’s running mate, Keenan McCardell.
McCardell, who is currently the Jaguars’ wide receiver coach, ranks only behind Smith in career targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns in franchise history. Like Smith, he started his career elsewhere, but broke out in Jacksonville.
So why am I going with McCardell over Smith, Robinson or anybody else? For whatever reason, I have always been more enthralled with rooting for the underdog or second tier players/teams. I wouldn’t call McCardell an “underdog,” but he was in Smith’s shadow.
It’s one of the reasons I became a Jaguars fan in the first place. It’s the reason why even though I grew up 30 minutes away from the University of Michigan and nearly all of my friends were fans of that school, I chose to follow and root for the Michigan State Spartans (for those who don’t know, we’ll call that rivalry “passionate”).
Granted, I was a young gun when Smith and McCardell were running around defenses, but I got into football around the age of 9 and immediately followed the Jaguars. So from about 1999 until he left after the 2001 season, I watched McCardell play for the Jaguars, and I also made sure to go back and watch highlights from seasons past.
Growing up in Michigan, it was hard to catch the Jaguars on TV, but I took every chance I could to watch Mark Brunell throw to that great receiver duo, whether it was live, recorded or highlights. And something about McCardell’s play, and his attitude that he could also be a No. 1 guy, just drew me to him.
He recorded four 1,000-yard seasons with the Jaguars. According to Sports Reference, McCardell grabbed 499 balls for 6,393 yards and 30 touchdowns in Jacksonville. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1996 as a Jaguar. He finished his career with 883 catches for 11,373 yards and 63 touchdowns, playing for five teams.
McCardell was an excellent route-runner and often made tough catches. Click the link below to watch a video for a refresher on what he was able to do as a member of the Jaguars and what others had to say about him.
So, let me ask the readers, who was your all-time favorite Jaguars wide receiver? Let us know in the comments section below! Mike Sims-Walker, am I right?