The search of number one draft choices explains the fate of the Jacksonville Jaguars through the years.
The franchise was quite successful at first, then moved to mediocrity, and then to the bottom of the NFL. The first nine years (Tom Coughlin years) of #1 draft choices produced many successful players The second five years produced some solid starters and players with long NFL careers. The third five year span did not produce long term Jaguar starters. The last five years are difficult to judge but have given us some starting players.
THE GLORY YEARS
The Tom Coughlin years from 1995-2002 were golden years for the number one draft choices. First, there were five pro bowl selections. They were; Tony Boselli, Kevin Hardy, Fred Taylor, Marcus Stroud, and John Henderson. Next, there were four solid Jags and starters for other teams. They were James Stewart, Renaldo Wynn, Donovan Darius, and Fernando Bryant. Last, There was a player who only played one year… R.Jay Soward.
THE SOLID YEARS
The next five years of draft choices were solid years. The years from 2003-2007 produced two pro bowlers. They were Marcedes Lewis and Reggie Nelson who are still playing in the NFL. Byron Leftwich was a Jaguars starter and still is on an NFL roster. Reggie Williams and Matt Jones had short NFL careers.
THE UNPRODUCTIVE YEARS
2008-2012 draft choices were a mixed bag at best. Eugene Monroe and Tyson Alualu are career NFL players. Blaine Gabbert is still on an NFL roster but doesn’t start and did not produce for the Jags. Derrick Harvey was waved after three years and Justin Blackman is suspended for substance abuse.
THE JURY IS STILL OUT
There is no consensus on the last five draft choices except for Luke Joeckel who was not successful for the Jags. Blake Bortles has had a good season and a bad season. Dante Fowler was injured and has played one season. Jalen Ramsey had a very good rookie season. Leonard Fournette is still a rookie.
The rise and fall of the Jaguars as a team correlates with the success and failure of the number one draft choices. The Jaguars first fourteen years of number one drafts produced seven pro bowlers. The last ten years have produced no pro bowlers. The Tom Coughlin years produced successful first round players who remained on the team for long and successful careers. The hope is that his addition to the team will help us pick better talent who will remain on the team and help produce a winner.