No. 4 Jaguars best rookie season of the 2010s: Telvin Smith, 2014
The Jaguars selected linebacker Telvin Smith out of Florida State in the 2014 draft. The former Seminole had a fantastic collegiate career and won a National Championship. However, there were character and size concerns leading up to the selection meeting that lowered his value, making him a steal for the Jaguars at No. 144th.
There was plenty of criticism about Smith coming out of college in regards to his size and strength, but the linebacker quickly proved his critics wrong by enjoying a fantastic rookie season. Although he earned his first start until Week 8, his size and athleticism proved to be more than enough to play the outside linebacker position in the NFL.
Smith put in his fair share of work his rookie year producing 104 combined tackles, 72 solo tackles, nine tackles for a loss, four passes defensed, one interception, and one quarterback hit. Smith’s big-time speed served him well as he made plays all over the field in his rookie campaign.
The team itself did not have a lot of success in 2014, earning a record of 3-13. However, the year was not a complete loss, as several of the rookies went on to play a lot of football for the Jaguars, with Smith possibly being the most valuable of the bunch. As a fifth-round pick who started 76 games for this team and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2017, you could say he also surpassed draft expectations.