The Jacksonville Jaguars have some big decisions to make this offseason, perhaps none more crucial than what direction they take with the 5th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft this May.
General manager David Caldwell has had 3 drafts so far and for the most part he’s done a good job. His first draft class in 2013 isn’t exactly a sterling collection of difference makers, but that particular draft may go down as one of the worst in the history of the league. Luke Joeckel hasn’t lived up to the billing of what’s traditionally expected of number 2 overall picks, but he’s been solid and no worse than a league-average offensive tackle.
The point in this being David Caldwell has yet to draft a huge “bust,” something that plagued the Jaguars dearly in the mid-to-late 2000s. The failed first round picks of Shack Harris and his successor Gene Smith set this franchise back in a huge way over the last decade.
With so many to choose from, who deserves the moniker of biggest bust in team history? Erik Lambert over at NFL Mocks went all the way back to the Tom Coughlin era:
"R. JAY SOWARD, WR, USC"
"With the 29th pick in the 2000 draft, the Jaguars were desperate for help at wide receiver. Selecting R.J. Soward seemed logical, however after numerous issues with the team and violating the league’s substance abuse policy, he was eventually given up on after just 154 receiving yards (all in his rookie year). Soward admitted to daily drug use during his time at USC and that contributed to his struggles in the NFL."
I don’t think Soward is even the 2nd biggest bust in franchise history.
While you can argue the order, the 2 biggest busts in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars are undoubtedly Derrick Harvey and Blaine Gabbert. The repercussions of those two selections rang much longer and harder than that of Soward.
The selection of Harvey cost the Jaguars a majority of their draft class and eventually the job of GM Shack Harris.
The selection of Blaine Gabbert was the last straw in a string of horrific selections by GM Gene Smith.
Soward didn’t amount to much, but Coughlin was doomed by poor salary cap management more than anything.