Former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin has gotten the spotlight after being named a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Similarly, running back Fred Taylor recently surfaced because he believes he has a strong case to get inducted. But how about wide receiver Jimmy Smith? He's certainly got the numbers and the accolades to be enshrined in the HOF but for the time being, he got recognition in a list Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports put together.
DeArdo chose every NFL team's best free-agent signing ever and picked Smith for Jacksonville, noting that he started his career with the Dallas Cowboys but he only broke out until he joined the Jags in 1995.
"After an underwhelming first season in Jacksonville, Smith tallied 1,244 receiving yards in 1996 while helping the Jaguars reach the AFC title game. Over the next nine years, Smith racked up nine more 1,000-yard seasons while earning five straight Pro Bowl nods from 1997-01. "
Smith, a second-round pick in the 1992 draft, went on to play 171 games with 150 starts for the Jaguars and finished his 11-year stint with 862 receptions (26th all-time), 12,287 yards (25th all-time), and 67 touchdowns. On top of that, he's only one of three receivers, the other two are Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, in NFL history to have nine 1,000-yard seasons in their first 12 years.
That's some pretty good company to be with and even more impressive when you take into account that he didn't register a single catch during his stint with the Cowboys.
Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith was a key cog in the Jaguars early years
The Jaguars are a rather young team, having been founded in 1993 and playing their inaugural season in 1995. However, several talented players have arrived via free agency, including Jimmy Smith.
You could make the case that defensive end Calais Campbell deserves consideration after having a huge impact in the 2010s. The same is true for right tackle Leon Searcy and linebacker Mike Patterson. All of them were outstanding free-agent pickups but none of them were greater than Smith.
Smith was one of the best receivers in the league in the early 2010s and gave the Jaguars a one-two punch combo along with Keenan McCardell, another free-agency addition. The fact that Smith was an integral part of the Jacksonville teams that reach the AFC Championship twice and went on to make the playoffs four times in the late 1990s makes it an essential part of the history.
Simply put, you can't talk about the best Jaguars players without Smith, which is why it's refreshing to see him get recognition in DeArdo's list. Next, he should earn consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.