December 11, 2011; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) is congratulated by tight end Marcedes Lewis (89) after he scored a touchdown during the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
During a casual conversation with respected sportscaster Derrin Horton, he said something that was so simple and made so much sense. He said, “You can have all the talent in the world and be a great athlete. And you can have the best work ethic and become a great athlete. But in rare circumstances, you have an athlete with tremendous talent AND an incredibly strong work ethic. And those athletes are the ones that become elite”.
Maurice Jones-Drew chose the #32 to remind all 32 teams, including the Jaguars, they shouldn’t have passed on him in the 2006 draft. He rushed for over 1,300 yards from 2009 – 2011. In 2011 he wasn’t only the league leader, he WAS the Jaguars offence. Elite? I’d say so.
So who’s next? Marcedes Lewis has elite Tight End ability, given quality QB play. He has the talent, and the work ethic. He spends his off season training in MMA. And anyone who’s spent more than 3 minutes in the ring or mat will tell you it’s not easy.
Cecil Shorts III was drafted on his talent and play. He didn’t come out of the national spotlight of the SEC, PAC 10, etc. With lackluster QB play he came screaming out of the gates last year. Finishing just shy of 1000 yards. As for work ethic? He’ll be spending his last bit of free time working out with and learning from future Hall of Famer, Larry Fitzgerald.
Luke Joeckel was arguably one of the best players in college football last year. Can this carry over to “Elite Status”? Time will tell. Despite Eugene Monroe being one of the best players on the Jaguars team last year, Jockel wasn’t drafted to stay at Right Tackle. And there’s also Johnathan Cyprien. He was named the MVP of OTAs and has been drawing comparisons to Troy Polamalu. An elite player in his prime. My guess is the next Elite Jaguar is on the current roster. We’ll just have to wait a couple of seasons to find out who that may be.
Jun 11, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel (76) during a minicamp at the Florida Blue