5 NFL Draft picks the Jacksonville Jaguars gave up on too soon

Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Damaris Johnson (13) gets
Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Damaris Johnson (13) gets / Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Dante Fowler, OLB - Round 1, 2015

There was a period in the 2010s when the Jags seemingly had a top-5 draft pick every year. That they weren't able to build a powerhouse was an indictment of the regime they had in place at the time. You could even make the case that most of the picks themselves weren't that bad, Luke Joeckel notwithstanding. Take Dante Fowler for example.

A torn ACL wiped Fowler's rookie season but if he had been healthy, he would've had an impact right off the bat. However, the front office wasn't pleased with his development and traded him to the Los Angeles Rams just three seasons after making him the third overall pick in 2015. They would soon come to regret it as the former Florida Gator went on to register a career-best 10.5 sacks in 2019.

Fowler wasn't able to recreate that level of success he had that year but was still a reliable pass rusher from 2020-2023, registering 17.5 sacks in that snap in that span.

3. Yannick Ngakoue - Round 3, 2016

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got off to a strong start to his NFL career, tallying eight sacks and one interception as a rookie. By 2017, he had become an integral piece of the Sacksonville defense that helped the Jags reach the AFC Championship. Heading into the last year of this rookie season, he wanted to get paid but negotiations quickly soured, and was promptly shipped out of town.

You could argue that Ngakoue didn't handle contract talks well and you would be right. However, the Jaguars were supposed to be the voice of the reason, and instead of compromising, they chose the nuclear option. While the former Maryland Terrapin has had somewhat of a nomadic career, he's generally found success anywhere he's gone.

The Jags explored the idea of bringing back Ngakoue during the 2023 offseason but ultimately passed. He ended up signing with the Chicago Bears but injuries hindered him. As of this writing, he remains unsigned but he should still have gas in the tank.