Jacksonville Jaguars: 15 best running backs of all-time
By John Buhler
Fred Taylor is not only the best running back in Jaguars franchise history, but one of the four best players to have ever played for Jacksonville. Though probably not a Pro Football of Famer, Taylor is undoubtedly a legend in Duval County for both his play with the Jaguars and collegiately while at the University of Florida.
Taylor was the No. 9 overall pick out of Florida by the Jaguars in the 1998 NFL Draft. He would spend his first 11 NFL seasons with Jacksonville in his 13-year career. As a rookie, Taylor rushed for 1,223 yards on 264 carries for 12 touchdowns. Interestingly, that would be the most rushing touchdowns he would have in a season in his landmark NFL career.
Taylor rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season seven times in his Jacksonville career. He led the league in yards per game in 2000 with 107.6. Jacksonville would make its second trip to the AFC Championship Game as a franchise in his second season as a franchise.
Along with guys like quarterback Mark Brunell, left tackle Tony Boselli and wide receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, the Jaguars had one of the most explosive offenses in football in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In essence, Taylor gave former head coach Tom Coughlin the balance he needed on offense to play championship-caliber football.
However, being in a small market largely outshined Taylor’s brilliance as a running back down in Duval County. He may own a bunch of franchise records for the Jaguars, but being that he played for an expansion era team only hurt his perception nationally to some degree.
Shockingly, Taylor only has one Pro Bowl nod to his name. That came with Jacksonville towards the end of his time with the team in 2007. This was Jacksonville’s last trip to the AFC playoffs for a decade before the 2017 team came along.
Taylor would leave the Jaguars in 2009 to join the New England Patriots in free agency after 11 years with Jacksonville. Sadly, he was a shell of himself in New England. After the 2010 NFL season, Taylor would sign a one-year deal to retire as a member of the Jaguars organization in September 2011.
Taylor is a member of the exclusive 10,000-yard rushing club. He is one of only a handful of players to earn enshrinement in the Pride of the Jaguars. To this day, Taylor still holds several franchise records including most career rushing yards (11,271), total touchdowns in a season (17) and career all-purpose yards (13,640). Taylor is arguably the second greatest player in franchise history after Boselli.