Grading Jacksonville Jaguars 1st-round picks throughout the 2010s
In a decade where Jacksonville Jaguars fans suffered through eight losing seasons, it is not surprising that the team’s brass struggled to draft playmakers as well. With ten first-round picks from 2010-2019, they acquired just two Pro Bowlers. Furthermore, only the two most recent two selections are still with the organization.
It is widely accepted that the draft is the most important part of team building in the NFL. As such, first-round picks are the most valuable currency in the league. For the Jags, their 2021 draft class will be critical for their success under new head coach Urban Meyer. While quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne look poised to revitalize the Jacksonville offense, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at some players who were once thought of in the same light.
2010, 10th overall: Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle, California
Tyson Alualu’s career will go down as a strange one. Widely considered the surprise of the 2010 draft, he was a Day 1 starter for former head coach Jack Del Rio at defensive tackle. Throughout his seven-year career in Jacksonville, Alualu did little to dispel the notion that he was a reach. Averaging slightly over three sacks a season in these seven seasons, he received mostly poor grades from Pro Football Focus as well.
In a strange turn of events, he has become a very valuable role player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. A tremendously talented run defender, he almost returned to the Jaguars during the 2021 free agency period. Alas, he was diagnosed with Covid-19, which led him to change his mind and stay in Steel City.
Overall, Alualu was never more than a below-average player in Jacksonville and was hardly worth a top-ten pick. South Florida’s own Jason Pierre-Paul was taken just five picks later in this draft. A three-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro, “JPP” would have been a fan favorite in Duval.
2011, 10th overall: Blaine Gabbert, quarterback, Missouri
A laughable pick in retrospect, Gabbert was considered a very good quarterback prospect at the time. In a class that featured four first-rounders at the position, the Jaguars traded up to take the Missouri product in the top ten. Named the starter early in his rookie season, Gabbert was instantly dreadful in the NFL. Playing just three seasons for the Jaguars, he posted a 22:24 touchdown-to-interception ratio, 3,857 yards, and never had a completion percentage higher than 58.3 percent.
One of the biggest draft busts in recent memory, Gabbert has found a home as a backup signal-caller in the NFL. However, this is hardly the outcome Jaguar’s brass envisioned when they made him a top ten pick. Funny enough, Gabbert (as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Tyrod Taylor are the only quarterbacks from 2011’s draft to win a Super Bowl ring.