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Top 10 Jacksonville Jaguars in NFL History
There one of the leagues youngest franchises. Today I rank the top 10 Jacksonville Jaguars players in NFL history.
The Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers became active NFL teams in 1995. Since their inception, the Jaguars have won division championships in 1998 and 1999 and have qualified for the playoffs six times, most recently in 2007.
For this list, I look at the talent of the individual, what they meant to the team, and status as a pro bowler.
10. Keenan McCardell
This 17 year veteran is one of the most forgotten receivers in NFL history.
After spending his first five seasons in Washington and Cleveland, Keenan McCardell with the Jaguars with his first big contract. During his first season with the team he made 85 catches for 1,129 yards and three touchdowns, and earned himself a trip to his first ever Pro Bowl. With the emergence of teammate Jimmy Smith the Jaguars had one of the best duos at wide receiver in the NFL. They earned the nickname "Thunder and Lightning" with McCardell as "Thunder" because of his ability to run routes in the middle of the field.
After the 2001 season, McCardell, along with many other Jaguar starters, were waived due to salary cap reasons. He finished his six-year career with the Jaguars recording 499 receptions for 6,393 yards and 30 touchdowns.
9. Greg Jones
He's probably one of the most forgotten fullbacks ever to play.
How important was Jones to the Jaguar's running game? Then-coach Jack Del Rio cried in 2006 when he announced Jones would miss the season with a torn ACL. During the 2007 season Jones carried the ball 42 times for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also added 99 yards and 2 touchdowns on 11 catches and he was the first alternate on the AFC Pro Bowl roster at fullback. Jones helped All-Pro running back Maurice Jones-Drew become the 2011 leading rusher in the NFL.
His departure prior to 2013 saw Jones Drew's number drastically drop, signifying how important he was to the offense.
8. Brad Meester
He should be recognized as one of the best centers of the decade.
A second round pick in 2000, Brad Meester was the most stable member of the Jacksonville offensive line in his 14 seasons. Offensive lineman hardly receive any accolades unless they're pancaking defenders left and right, but Meester deserves more praise. It's hard enough to find a frontline center in the NFL. It's even harder to find one who's so reliable. Meester has missed just 15 games in 13 seasons.
Meester retired after the 2013 season spending his entire career in Jacksonville. He started over 200 games in his career and even caught a first down reception in his final season.
7. John Henderson
He's probably best known for his pregame ritual of having a member of the training staff slap him in the face before each game.
A first round pick in 2002, John Henderson developed into a formidable defensive tackle. In eight seasons in Jacksonville, Henderson recorded nearly 500 tackles, 29 sacks, and eight forced fumbles. Along with teammate Marcus Stroud, the Jaguars has one of the best defensive tackle duos in the league.
Henderson left for Oakland after 2009 and Jacksonville is still looking for a defensive tackle who can match his play.
6. Marcus Stroud
Underrated to Henderson due to personality, but definitely possessed a greater skill set.
A first round pick in 2001, Marcus Stroud quickly made a name for himself in a talented defensive tackle draft class. He and John Henderson helped give the Jaguars one of the more dominant defensive tackles duos in the NFL. As a duo, they were nicknamed Hurricane Henderstroud. During his Jacksonville days, Stroud had 22 sacks and 256 tackles while appearing in 100 games. Stroud also played in every Jaguars game for the first 5 years of his career.
In his seven years in Jacksonville, Stroud was a three time All-Pro and pro bowler. He was traded to Buffalo after 2007.
5. Maurice Jones Drew
Known as "Pocket Hercules," Maurice Jones-Drew quickly defied critics to become one of the leagues best running backs.
A second round pick in 2006, MJD was a force on offense and special teams compiling over 2,000 all purpose yards and 16 touchdowns as a rookie. After Fred Taylor's departure after 2008, Jones-Drew became the teams starter and made his first of three straight pro bowl and All-Pro seasons. He even led the league in rushing in 2011 despite the teams poor record.
He left the team for Oakland after 2013. MJD is Jacksonville's all time leader in rushing touchdowns, all time kick return leader, and single season leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.
4. Mark Brunell
He was the perfect quarterback to jumpstart the expansion franchise.
After two years with the Packers, Mark Brunell was acquired in 1995 by the Jacksonville in a trade. During his years in Jacksonville, Brunell was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and was awarded the Pro Bowl MVP in the 1997 game. With Brunell starting, the Jaguars won an AFC Central Division title and became the first NFL expansion team to make the playoffs three times in its first four seasons of play. The furthest he led the team was to the 1996 AFC Championship Game, which they lost to the Patriots. They returned again in 1999, but would lose to Tennessee.
Brunell was benched in favor of Byron Leftwich in 2003. In his nine years in Jacksonville, he passed for 144 touchdowns and will also be remembered for being a versatile threat throwing and running.
3. Jimmy Smith
He went from being unused in Dallas, to being the best receiver in Jacksonville.
Jimmy Smith ranks 16th in NFL history with 862 receptions. He's 17th with 12,287 receiving yards. He's 10th with 16.1 yards per catch. He's 39th in receiving touchdowns with 67. He posted nine 1,000-yard seasons and retired as the team's all time leader in every major receiving category. So why isn't Smith mentioned in any conversation about great NFL receivers? Most likely he's the victim of playing in Jacksonville, where the media spotlight is light. Had Smith played in a bigger market and mimicked that kind of production, we'd be asking when he's going to the Hall of Fame.
Since his retirement, Smith's legacy has been tarnished due arrests on drug charges. Nevertheless, Smith retired as a five time pro bowler and the NFL's reception leader in 1999.
2. Fred Taylor
He had size, he had speed, he had it all.
Fred Taylor has the same problem as Jimmy Smith. Incredible production for a team that doesn't make national waves. Taylor had seven 1,000-yard seasons, and he's 15th on the NFL's all-time list with 11,695 rushing yards. His 14,079 yards from scrimmage are 26th-best in league history. So why no love for Freddie? Taylor played in all 16 games in just two seasons, so that might have hurt his cause. Taylor was inducted in the Pride of the Jaguars', but you have to wonder if he'll receive any consideration for Canton.
In his 11 seasons in Jacksonville, Taylor is the Jaguars all time leading rusher. He may have only made one pro bowl in his career, but his legacy lives on in Jacksonville.
1. Tony Boselli
Its hard for an offensive lineman to be a team's greatest player but that's what Boselli did.
He was the Jaguars first ever draft pick and he lived up to all expectations. As a result of his professional success and local popularity, Jacksonville-area McDonald's restaurants offered the "Boselli Burger" in his honor for his time with the team. He was a five time pro bowler and three time All-Pro as he quickly established himself as one of the best left tackle in football.
He was selected by Houston in the expansion draft but never played due to injuries. After his retirement, Boselli was the first player to be inducted in Jacksonville's Pride of the Jaguars.