In the third of a series of off season articles going over the nineteen NFL drafts performed in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ history, we will continue with 1995. In February of 1995, the Jags, along with the Carolina Panthers, had what is called an Expansion Draft. Later 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. I reviewed round one, two, and three in the first part of this article. We will now resume with the fourth round of the 1995 NFL draft.
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 anything interesting related to the draft…Jaguar or not. As Judge Smails famously said…”Well…We’re Waiting!”
Round Four/Pick #99 – Rob Johnson, QB, USC - Tom Coughlin wasn’t just a great coach. He was a brilliant GM. After already selecting Steve Beuerlein in the expansion draft, and trading for Mark Brunell, the Jags took the best available player on the board who also was a QB. Coughlin followed the rule that if you select a good QB in the draft, even if you don’t need one, it’s good business. If you have injuries, you got a great backup. If he gets a chance to shine in action and does, you got trade bait of the highest order. Johnson sat most of two years until he got a shot because of injuries. He looked great and in 1998, with Brunell back and healthy, the Jags were able to trade Johnson to the Bills for a first and third round pick in that year’s draft. Very profitable indeed. Would I have picked differently? – Won us a few when Brunell was hurt then got us a 1st and 3rd round picks for a former 4th rounder. I couldn’t do better if I tried!
Round Four/Pick #123 – Michael Thompson, DT, Wisconsin - First true misstep. Thompson had the correct size for a DT (6-4, 294 lbs) but never got it going. Played sporadically that year and was then released. Indication of a miss…played six seasons on 3 different teams and had 1.5 sacks for his career. Best if we move on. Would I have picked differently? – At least 150 other players. (that’s how many were picked after Thompson). I would first look at Stephen Boyd, selected 18 picks later by the Lion. A three time pro bowl rep at MLB, career ended after 6 years per back issues. But still, better than Thompson! P.S. – Surprised Coughlin missed on Boyd. He had just coached him at Boston College. P.S.S. – Picked at #122 by the Dolphins? Future TE stud for the Jags, Pete Mitchell!
Round Five/Pick #169 – Ryan Christopherson, RB, Wyoming – Strike two. Ryan only lasted two years in the league. Only one with the Jags. Career numbers of 16 yds rushing and one TD. Pretty bad. Would I have picked differently? – Absolutely! Next pick was Travis Jervey by the Packers. Not a great pro by any stretch, but he did play nine years and made the Pro Bowl once for his special teams play.
Round Six/Pick #172 – Marcus Price, OT, LSU - Strike three and you’re OUT!!! Coughlin must have felt safe taking a guard/tackle hybrid who stood 6-4 and weighed 310. A SEC smasher with a mean streak. First he got hurt in camp and spent his first year on the IR. Didn’t see the field much the next year & was cut. Ended up somehow earning NFL dollars for 11 years with five different teams. Yet he only totaled 77 actual games played with 10 starts! Must be nice! Would I have picked differently? - You’re darn tootin!!! Pick #181 by the Falcons, DT Travis Hall. He played 11 years, 150 games, 451 tackles, and 42 sacks. That would have made up for the Michael Thompson pick!
Round Seven/Pick #219- Curtis Marsh, WR, Utah - Man…After the Rob Johnson pick this draft went to hell in a handbasket. Played three years in the NFL, two with the Jags. Finished with nine catches for 141 yards and ZERO touchdowns. Ended up having a better career in the CFL. Would I have picked differently? - Yes…for just about the entire 2nd half of the draft! Suggestions: Pick #221/Tom Nutten/C/Bills/Played 11 yrs off and on/won Super Bowl ring with Rams…Pick #230/Adam Timmerman/OG/Packers/Played 12 yrs/voted All-Pro twice/Played in 4 Super Bowls/Won twice…#241/Chad Eaton/DT/Cardinals/Played 9 yrs/103 games/378 tackles/15.5 sacks…But who knew then?
Undrafted Free Agents – The Jags made up for an amazingly horrible 2nd half of their draft by bringing in LB Tom McManus out of Boston College, who contributed a lot to the defense for 5 yrs. They also signed K Mike Hollis out of Idaho, who went on to kick for the Jags for 7 yrs and was statistically one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history for many years. Those were pretty good payoffs for guys signed off the street.
1995 Draft Summary and Grade – Round 1 (A) / Round 2 (C+) / Round 3 (B+) / Round 4 (C+) / Round 5-7 (F) / UFA’s (A-). Totaling their entire draft, the Jaguars’ 1995 NFL draft scored a (C). That score is very disappointing when you consider they drafted a potential Hall of Fame LT, a QB they drafted in the 4th round that two years later got them a 1st and 3rd draft pick in a trade, and a kicker who was one of the best in the league during his career. I am assuming that 1996′s draft must have been outstanding since the Jags began a five year playoff run that year. But we won’t know until the next article. See ya then!!
Astute observations brought to you by THE MICHAEL MCDONALD!!!
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