In the sixth of a series of off season articles going over the nineteen NFL drafts performed in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ history, we will continue with 1999. We have previously examined:
- The 1995 Expansion Draft
- The 1995 NFL Draft pt 1
- The 1995 NFL Draft pt 2
- The 1996 NFL Draft
- The 1997 NFL Draft
- The 1998 NFL Draft
The Jaguars posted another 11-5 in their fourth season, including two Monday Night Football appearances. They also won the AFC Central division alone for the first time. The Jags finally exercised their demons by beating New England for their first home playoff win, before losing to the New York Jets in the divisional round. This earned the Jags the overall 26th pick in the 1998 Draft. These were the good ole days when QBs were picked for the first three picks and then 2 RBs. The first offensive lineman wasn’t picked until the 14th pick. 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 Ric Ocasek of the Cars famously said… “She said (clap clap clap-clap-clap clap-clap-clap-clap) LET’S GO!”
Round One/Pick #26 – Fernando Bryant, CB, Alabama – 5-11, 184, and played at a major power program. Bryant came in and played well enough to make the All-Rookie team for 1999. Bryant would play 4 more years in Jacksonville and then was allowed to leave via free agency. Why did the Jags give up on a first round pick when his first contract ran out? What might explain it is the Bryant would end up having a 10 year career. He had 580 tackles in that career. He also had a total of SEVEN interceptions in TEN YEARS!!! It was amazing to watch how a talented player of his caliber having feet for hands. Would I have picked differently? – Yes. Four pick after ours, Atlanta selected DE Patrick Kerney. He would play 11 years, put up 82.5 career sacks, go to 2 Pro Bowls, & was voted Defensive player of the year for the NFC in 2007. Damnit…We missed on out DE again!
Round Two/Pick #56 – Larry Smith, DT, FSU – Wow…HUGE MISS! Somehow managed to play 6 years, appear in 64 games, and post 5.5 total QB sacks. I’m not going to waste anymore words on this misfire. Would I have picked differently? – Dear God, I hope so! At pick #73, The Steelers selected Joey Porter. He would play 13 years. He would post 672 tackles, 98 sacks, 12 INTs, and 4 Pro Bowls. Oh…He also was the Steelers’ 2002 co-MVP, won a Super Bowl in 2005, was selected for the All Decade 2000 ‘s defensive squad, and is on the Steelers’ all-time team. I think he would have been a slightly better pick!
Round Three/Pick #88 – Anthony Cesario, OG, Colorado State – Tragically bad pick. Bad pick because Anthony never played for the Jags, went to Miami and never went further than the practice squad in two years. He then had to retire because of injuries. The pick was ultimately tragic because Anthony went on to run a business back in Colorado. He tragically died of a heart attack at the too young age of 44. Would I have picked differently? - To honor a former Jaguarand his family, I will decline to pick another player.
Round Four/Pick #121 – Kevin Landolt, DT, West Virginia – This story is getting old. A fourth round pick spent on a player who got on the field one time, didn’t record any stat other than “game played”, and was released later that year to never play NFL football again. A FOURTH ROUND PICK!!! A second miss at a same position (DT), in the same draft year. UNFORGIVABLE! Would I have picked differently? - Absolutely. Six picks later, Denver would select Georgia RB Olandis Gary, who had a servicable career, which is more than can be said for the last THREE PICKS!
I have to take a short breather. I was so excited when I came up with this idea to analyse all the drafts in their history. I thought it would be a neat journey. Unfortunately it has been proven to be a journey that compares to the Donner’s Party. After each of these drafts, I feel the need to shower. Some really terrible decisions were made many times for many years. The drafts of 1997 through 1999, along with some awful late round picks their first two drafts, are the reason our team is a laughing stock of the league. I’m depending on you, Dave Caldwell, to fix this. Thanks…OK… got that off my chest. Let’s return to the debacle.
Round Five/Pick #160 – Jason Craft, CB, Colorado State – Two CBs selected…two DTs…I just don’t get this draft! Jason wasn’t a horrible player. He actually had a very good career considering he was taken in the 5th round. He lasted 10 years, played 148 games, made 406 tackles, and had 58 passes defended with 14 INTs. Would I have picked differently? - Maybe. At 173, the Bengals selected DT Kelly Gregg. He played 13 years, had 551 tackles, and 20.5 sacks. Would make up for the 2 previously failed DT picks!
Round Six/Pick #182 – Emarlos Leroy, DT, Georgia – I DON’T GET THIS!!! A third DT drafted in the same draft. It makes NO Sense! Emarlos lasted 2 years, played in 22 games, put up a whopping 7 tackles, then never played again. Another bust. Even for a sixth round pick. Then again…He was a Bulldog. Would I have picked differently? - I don’t know…Maybe Donald Driver selected at #213 by the Packers. Easily one of the best receivers in the 2000’s. Imagine Driver playing with Smith & McCardell. Amazing!
Round Seven/Pick #242 – Dee Moronkola, CB, Washington State – Wait…What…WHO?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME…ANOTHER F’ING CORNERBACK!!! Another player drafted that never played professional football. Terrible draft. Would I have picked differently? – YES! Next pick OG Kelvim Garmon. Played 8 years…or eight years longer than Dee Moronkola. Did the Jags actually draft a player with “Moron” in his name?!?
Round Seven/Pick #246 – Chris White, DE, Southern U. – Another player who never saw the field, another bust, blah Blah, BLAH. This is starting to really upset me! I can’t believe how little I focused on the late rounds back in the 90’s. I’m more pissed at how little respect the Jags & their staff obviously had for the draft. Would I have picked differently? – Get me a time machine. I will bet a BILLION dollars I could do better than the 1999 draft.
In the 1999 NFL draft:
- Five QBs were selected in the first 12 picks (3 busts, 1 All Pro, 1 potential Hall of Fame).
- In the first round of 31 picks, Ohio State had 3, Georgia & Florida had 2 each, and all the other picks were to one college. There must have been a lot of parity in the 1998 NCAA football year.
- Speaking of the Jaguars, Tampa Bay selected a Kicker (Martín Gramática) in the third round of the draft. I guess it isn’t so rare!
- Hall of Fame Potential – First ballot/no doubt – Champ Bailey (1st)…Possible but mostly unlikely – Donovan McNabb (1st), Edgerrin James (1st), & Donald Driver (7th!).
- FINAL NOTE – 1999’s “Mr. Irrelevant” was Jim Finn, taken by the Bears with pick #253. The Fullback managed to play 9 years in the league which is pretty significant. The other thing Jim is known for is he was part of the initial lawsuit filed against the NFL related to head injuries. He and 12 other players filed the lawsuit in 2011 and started the ball rolling on CTE becoming a relevant term in football.
1999 Draft Summary and Grade – Round 1 (C+) / Round 2 (F-) / Round 3 (F-) / Round 4 (F-) / Round 5 (B) / Round 6 (D-) / Round 7 (F-). Totaling their entire draft, the Jaguars’ 1999 NFL draft scored a (D-). That score is EMBARRASSING. I’m sick of criticizing the Jags drafts. I’m truly sick. I am imagining now that someone with the Jags looked at Tom Coughlin and told him that he couldn’t do the drafting anymore. He probably wasn’t happy with the loss of responsibility and the process started for him being replaced as head coach. I’ll be back soon with the 2000 draft…Tom Coughlin’s last one.
See ya then.
Write me on Twitter @gumbussy.