With just 7 days until kickoff, let’s talk about former No. 7 Byron Leftwich and why he was so underrated for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Who is the most underrated Jaguars player in franchise history?
I feel this is going to be one with a lot of discussions. There’s a few players I think fit the bill well here, but if you’re surprised about who I’m going to pick you probably don’t know me very well, but... I think the most underrated player in Jaguars history is former quarterback Byron Leftwich. I’m basing my logic of underrated on how Jaguars fans view(ed) the player as well, not league wide, which is why I didn’t pick someone like Daryl Smith or Rashean Mathis.
This isn’t to say Leftwich was some awesome quarterback who didn’t get a fair shot, he wasn’t and he did, but I do think he was markedly better than most Jaguars fans give him credit for. He had the unfortunate chance of following team icon Mark Brunell when Brunell was more or less forced out at his advanced age. He also had a personality that either endeared you to him or made you dislike him, with no real middle ground. The way a lot of people talk about Leftwich’s tenure in Jacksonville however, you’d think he was on the same line as Blaine Gabbert.
Leftwich played four years with the Jaguars before he was surprisingly cut in the final cuts of the 2007 season. There was always an argument between his back up, David Garrard and Leftwich about who should be starting, in looking back on it, there really wasn’t much of a difference overall. Leftwich left the Jaguars with a 24-20 record throwing for nearly 10,000 yards and 51 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. More than anything, injuries derailed his career in Jacksonville and he fell out of favor with then head coach Jack Del Rio, as Del Rio saw he could win just the same with the back up and the relationship with Leftwich wasn’t the greatest.
I’m sure this will be met with some replies of how Leftwich didn’t care enough to change his throwing motion or how he was a bad teammate, all of which are actually opposite of reality, but overall he wasn’t that bad of a quarterback for the Jaguars, especially compared to how many people seem to remember him. He was a big reason the team made it back to the NFL playoffs, in combination with Garrard’s play in 2005, setting the team up for position to finish with an 11-5 record after a strong start.
Who do you think is the most underrated player in Jaguars history?