In the second of a series of offseason articles going over the nineteen NFL drafts performed in their history by the Jacksonville Jaguars, we will continue with 1995. In February the Jags, along with the Carolina Panthers, had what is called an Expansion Draft. Later that year in late April, the two expansion teams joined the rest of the league for the annual NFL Draft for the best college players turning pro. The Jaguars ended up picking second overall in the first round after picking first in the Expansion draft. Both expansion teams were also given an additional pick at the end of each round. Carolina was to pick first but chose to trade with Cincinnati, dropping to the fourth overall pick and gaining the Bengals’ 2nd round pick also. The excitement was just starting.
I will go over each pick and say something concerning the player if deserving. I will also bring up any missed opportunity where the Jags, with hindsight on my side, could have made a better selection. I’ll also bring up something interesting related to the draft…Jaguar or not. As Mills Lane famously said…”LETS GET IT ON!!!”
Round One/Pick #2 – Tony Boselli, LT, USC – There isn’t much to add to the story. Tony was one of the best tackles in football for many years. He went to multiple Pro Bowls. He is the first honoree into the Jacksonville Ring of Honor. First ever franchise pick is probably still the best ever. Would I have picked differently? – Absolutely not. Boselli became a face of the franchise, has continued to have a huge role in for them, and had a potential Hall of Fame career.
Round One/Pick #19 – James Stewart, RB, Tennessee – James was a serviceable back who had injury issues during our time with us. He was better served during the time he shared the load with Natron Means. He played for the Jags for five years then left via free agency. Would I have picked differently? – No, I wouldn’t. Actually, Tom Coughlin did pretty well running back-wise. Stewart was the 4th RB selected. The first three (Ki-jana Carter, Tyrone Wheatley, and Napoleon Kaufman) didn’t match Stewart’s success. Nor did any other back selected until Curtis Martin in the 3rd round.
Round Two/Pick #40 – Brian Demarco, OT, Michigan State – Demarco was a mixed bag. The ultimate frustrating athlete. Some games he would look brilliant. Others he would look completely lost. It was that potential that would keep him on the roster, even as his body started breaking down. Years later, Demarco would become the poster boy for retired athletes wanting more compensation for their injuries sustained on the field. Would I have picked differently? – You know…I’m looking at the draft and the players available were underwhelming at the best. Coughlin has always said you build an offense with a strong offensive line, so a tackle was going here. Looking at the next 6 tackles taken, none achieved considerably more than Demarco so he appeared to be the best tackle available. If I could convince Tom to hold off on tackle until later, then I would have considered Frank Sanders, a WR taken seven picks later by Arizona.
Round Two/Pick #64 – Bryan Schwartz, LB, Augustana (SD) - Bryan was a good linebacker who played five years and had 255 tackles. Not only was he a good player, but also a good man. He retired after leaving the Jags and is now a pastor. Would I have picked differently? – If Coughlin’s plan included getting a LB at this time, then he did OK. Sean Harris, a LB out of Arizona, was taken 83rd by Chicago & had a pretty great career. If LB wasn’t required, I would have taken the player selected two picks later, FB William Henderson out of North Carolina. Great player and team leader.
Round Three/Pick #71 – Chris Hudson, S, Colorado – Pretty good player for where he was selected. Was with the Jags for four years, playing three of them. He averaged 58 tackles a year and overall had 21 passes defended. His real asset was that he was a ball hawk. Hudson had four recovered fumbles, eight interceptions, and two returns for touchdown. Would I have picked differently? – I don’t think so. Hudson was pretty damn good. We haven’t had a lot of defensive players that was such a turnover creating machine. No remaining safety matched Hudson’s productivity. The Jags had already selected James Stewart so they weren’t looking for another RB. But it would have been nice to have 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Curtis Martin, selected three picks later.
There are four rounds remaining and this article is getting a little long. I will be back on a few days to analyse the remaining picks. Thanks for your time and I’ll see you in a few days…
Going way, way back…with Michael McDonald.
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