Jaguars legend Fred Taylor makes semifinalist round of 2024 Hall of Fame class

• Jaguars RB Fred Taylor becomes a semifinalist for the 2024 HOF class

• This is the 5th straight time he's made it to this round

• Will Taylor advance to the next stage of the process this time?

Jan 15, 2000; Jacksonville, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor (28)
Jan 15, 2000; Jacksonville, FL, USA; FILE PHOTO; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor (28) / Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Fred Taylor was a key figure on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the late 1990s and 2000s. Yet, he hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves. That could change soon, as he's taken a step forward toward being inducted into the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame, advancing to the semifinalist stage of the selection process.

Taylor was one of 25 former players who advanced to the semifinalist round. This is the fifth time he's been selected but that's as far as he's gotten. Four running backs were selected semifinalists this year: Ricky Watters, Tiki Barber, Eddie George, and Taylor.

This is the first time Barber makes the cut and all of them have solid portfolios. However, Taylor, a first-round pick in 1999 has a strong case. Although he lacks the accolades — he only made the Pro Bowl once in his career — he was among the top running backs in the NFL when he was around.

Taylor ranks 17th in rushing yards, and 14 of the players who are ahead of him on the all-time list have already been enshrined. He was a big component of the Jaguar's offense during their heyday and remained efficient even after Mark Brunell, Kennan McCardell, and Jimmy Smith left. In his own words, he used to go against and murk defenders who already have already been enshrined such as linebacker Ray Lewis, linebacker Derrick Brooks, and cornerback Champ Bailey.

That said, Taylor's path to the HOF won't be an easy one. The other 24 semifinalists built enticing resumes. For example, Tiki Barber retired in 2007, who also played for head coach Tom Coughlin, played 10 seasons, and also managed to cross the 10k rushing yard mark while getting three Pro Bowl selections and one First-Team All-Pro designation. Eddie George and Ricki Watters also ran for more than 10,000 yards, respectively, so numbers alone may not help Taylor make the cut.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, for one, thinks Fred Taylor deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Similarly, defenders who went against him think he should be in.

Ex Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has an uphill battle to make the Hall of Fame

One of the main arguments against Fred Taylor's candidacy for the HOF is that he wasn't among the best players at his position in his prime. Overshadowed by LaDainian Tomlinson, Edgarrin James, or Adrian Peterson later in his career, Taylor didn't always get the attention he deserved from the media. The fact that he played for the Jaguars, a team without a national following didn't help matters.

But Taylor always played the position at a high level, and if someone can make a strong case on his behalf, he should be able to advance to the finalist round of the process. It won't be easy though, players such as Will Anderson, London Fletcher, Dwight Freeney, Antonio Gates, and Torry Holt, who played one season in Jacksonville, should be on the driver's seat to move to the next stage.

Like Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor was a difference-maker for the Jaguars. And like Boselli, Taylor may need to wait for his chance to be enshrined in Canton. It won't be for a lack of credentials though, and it will be interesting to see if HOF voters can at last acknowledge the impact he had on the field.

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