It’s the NFL offseason, which means it’s time for the annual barrage of novelty articles about every topic imaginable. The most recent one that intrigued me was from NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison, where he selected the best player in each team’s franchise history.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, Harrison went with former wide receiver Jimmy Smith.
Tough call, here. Tony Boselli was dominant, but he didn’t play long enough. Keenan McCardell was a model of consistency, but he was never truly dominant. Fred Taylor’s 11,271 rushing yards for the franchise, meanwhile, are tough to dismiss. Yet, with apologies to Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, Smith’s résumé is simply impossible to ignore. Former Eagles coach Rich Kotite once told the guy he would never make it in the NFL. Smith responded by racking up nine — NINE!! — 1,000-yard seasons in Jacksonville. With 862 receptions to his name, Smith’s easily the most prolific pass-catcher in Jags history.
In my opinion, there are really only 3 players who are in the discussion for the top player in team history – Jimmy Smith, Fred Taylor, and Tony Boselli. Smith is a fine choice for all the reasons Harrison pointed out – he’s the most productive player in franchise history and was far and away the best player at his position to every play for Jacksonville. His troubles off the field since retiring aside, Smith is one of the few players to ever play for the Jaguars who has a strong case for the hall of fame.
Fred Taylor is arguably the most electric and dynamic player in team history. If not for a couple of serious injuries, Taylor probably would have worked his way into the top 5 in terms of career-total rushing yards. His lack of pro bowls is more of an indictment on the national presence of the team in the 2000s and not a commentary on just how effective Taylor was as a playmaker.
Tony Boselli is my choice and it really comes down to one point – there was a time where Boselli was the best player at his position in the entire league. In an era where Jonathan Ogden and Willie Roaf were still playing, Boselli managed to make 3 All-Pro teams and 5 Pro Bowls. The only thing holding him back from the hall of fame is his lack of longevity.
You know where I stand, but who would you say is the best player in franchise history? Vote here and leave some comments below.
– Daniel Lago