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ESPN ranks Jacksonville Jaguars as No. 22 in quarterback play

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New England Patriots vs Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Andy Lyons/Allsport/Getty Images

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have had a string of very, very, very bad quarterbacks over the past decade. But it wasn’t always that way. Mark Brunell was serviceable (and even led the league in passing one year!) and he was followed up by Byron Leftwich (criminally underrated) and David Garrard (great runner and turnover-free).

So, when ESPN put out their rankings of best team quarterback play in the Super Bowl era and had the Jaguars sitting at No. 22 — I wasn’t surprised.

Best QB: Mark Brunell

He led the Jaguars to the postseason in four of their first five seasons, capped off by a 14-2 year in 1999. He helped hand the Dolphins a 62-7 loss in the playoffs (Dan Marino’s final game) before losing in the AFC Championship. It might surprise you that the Jaguars rank ahead of a franchise such as the Titans/Oilers here, but Brunell and David Garrard were better than we give them credit for. They averaged roughly the same Approximate Value per season as Warren Moon and Steve McNair, the Titans/Oilers’ top two QBs, aided by the fact Moon and McNair played with significantly more Pro Bowlers on offense.

Worst QB: Blaine Gabbert

The Jaguars have drafted a quarterback in the first round three times (Gabbert, Byron Leftwich, Blake Bortles), and whiffed each time. But Gabbert was the worst, sporting a 5-22 record and 24 Total QBR in his Jaguars career, which lasted three seasons (2011-13). Credit to him, however, as he has managed to stick around in the NFL and is now Tom Brady’s backup in Tampa.

Full rankings

Category Rank
Category Rank
Overall QB production 12
Pro Bowl-caliber seasons 23
QB continuity 24
Overall 22

Remember ... Rob Johnson & Jay Fiedler? Both made one start in their Jaguars careers. Johnson’s 1997 audition was enough for the Bills to trade a first-round pick for him, which turned into Fred Taylor. Fiedler’s start in 1999 helped him land in Miami, where he replaced the retired Marino.

Did you know? According to Elias Sports Bureau research, Gardner Minshew II, whom the Jaguars picked in the sixth round of the 2019 draft, had the most passing yards (3,271) and touchdown passes (21) by a rookie drafted in the fifth round or later (or undrafted rookie) in the common draft era, which began in 1967.

Clay’s 2020 projections for Minshew: 19 TD passes, 9 INTs, 3,616 passing yards and 229 fantasy points.

Somehow we’re better than the Los Angeles Rams, who with Kurt Warner alone should be above us. And the Detroit Lions. And the Buffalo Bills. All three of those teams have Hall of Fame quarterbacks (or soon-to-be) and we had... Brunell for a few good years.

Hilarious.