I recently ran across an SBNation article ranking the linebacker squads of every team in the NFL. The Jaguars were respectably ranked 8th and it’s hard to argue they should be much higher or lower.
During the offseason, writers all over the web spit out these rankings left and right. We have Michael Lombardi’s (who?) annual article of “blue-chip” and “red-chip” players on offense and defense. More recently, in their ranking of the top 100 players, NFL players only voted one Jaguar in the top 100 – Maurice Jones-Drew.
Blaine still doesn’t know.
This all got me thinking about one thing: how many players do the Jaguars have that are one of the ten best players at their position? Now, being in the top ten may not seem very special, but that essentially puts you in the top third of the league at your position. By accumulating enough top ten performers at enough positions, you can set your team up to compete at a high level despite a few injuries.
My analysis is fairly simple – when going through every player on the Jaguars, are there ten other players who could fulfill the duties of that position any better? With that in mind, let’s delve into who I consider to be the Jaguars top ten representatives.
- Maurice Jones-Drew
- Marcedes Lewis
- Eugene Monroe
- Uche Nwaneri
- Greg Jones
- Daryl Smith
- Paul Posluszny
- Terrance Knighton
- Josh Scobee
A couple notes:
- Marcedes Lewis, Uche Nwaneri, and Terrance Knighton barely squeaked into the list. Despite a down year as a receiver last year, Lewis was still an elite blocker. Uche was solid last year but needs to flex his muscles as a pass blocker this year. Knighton is dominant at times, but his inconsistency keeps him from being an All-Pro tackle for now.
- Eugene Monroe was outstanding last year and has a chance to be an Pro-Bowl/All-Pro tackle this year. He, along with Knighton and Uche, should be on this list for years to come.
- This list highlights the Jags’ most glaring weakness last year – play-makers. There are only two skill position players on the list, MJD and Lewis, and Lewis had a tough year in 2012. If this list features a wide receiver and cornerback in a few years, the Jaguars should be in good shape.
- A few players who didn’t make the cut but are close are Derek Cox and Tyson Alualu. The only thing keeping both players off the list are injuries. If Cox can stay on the field and Alualu plays on two healthy legs then these two will start making more lists like this.
Hopefully I didn’t leave anyone obvious off, but if I did feel free to voice your opinion below!