Jacksonville Jaguars: 30 greatest players in franchise history
- 2x First-Team All-Pro (2010-11), 1x Second-Team All-Pro (2009)
- 3x Pro Bowl (2009-11)
- 2011 NFL rushing yards leader (1,606)
- Franchise leader in touchdowns (81), rushing touchdowns (68)
- Most rushing yards (1,606), rushing touchdowns (15) in a season (2011)
If there is any former Jacksonville player that is most deserving of being inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars that has not, it is without question running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Though the Jaguars largely struggled during his time in North Florida, Jones-Drew was a sensational tailback in his prime with Jacksonville.
The Jaguars used a second-round pick to take the undersized running back out of UCLA in the 2006 NFL Draft. He would end up splitting carries with another outstanding Jaguars running back in Fred Taylor during his first three years in the league. After Taylor was released by Jacksonville in the 2009 NFL offseason, it would be Jones-Drew who would have to carry the Jaguars offense. Boy, did he ever.
Jones-Drew was for a time the best running back in football. From 2009 to 2011, “MJD” was a Pro Bowler and earned All-Pro nods each season. He was a second-team member in 2009 and a first-team member in both 2010 and 2011.
His 2011 season was the best of Jones-Drew’s career. He rushed for an NFL-best 1,606 yards, which set a franchise record for most rushing yards in a season by a Jaguar. Jones-Drew found pay dirt 15 times on the ground that year, which was also another franchise single-season record.
2011 might have been the best year of Jones-Drew’s career, but that would end up being a year of great frustration for the Jaguars overall. Blaine Gabbert took the starting quarterback job from David Garrard in the preseason. No, it didn’t go over well, as that would be the last year Jack Del Rio was the Jaguars head coach.
Jones-Drew played with the Jaguars through the 2013 NFL season before playing one last year with the awful 2014 Oakland Raiders before retiring. In eight years with the Jaguars, Jones-Drew had 8,071 rushing yards on 1,804 carries. He stands as the franchise leader in career rushing touchdowns (68) and total touchdowns (81).
Overall, Jones-Drew was pretty much the entire Jaguars offense during a period of great quarterback futility. He may come up a tad short of Canton enshrinement, but his place in the top-five of greatest Jaguars is certainly deserved. To think he put up all those numbers in just eight seasons is pretty remarkable.