5. John Henderson. DT. Tennessee (2002) - Henderson was selected with the ninth overall pick of the 2002 draft and was paired with Marcus Stroud to form one of the best defensive tackle combinations in the game. Henderson and Stroud will be forever linked in the minds of Jaguars fans. For six seasons from 2002 to 2007, the dynamic duo were absolutely unstoppable together, and were the foundation of a Jaguars defense that finished in the top 12 in the NFL in total defense five straight seasons (from ’03 to ’07). In his eight seasons in Jax Henderson put up some remarkable numbers. Henderson finished 3rd in sacks (29), 3rd in passes defended (38), 4th in forced fumbles (8), and seventh in total tackles (423), in Jaguars team history. In addition, Henderson was selected to the Pro Bowl twice. Individually Henderson did some incredible things, but it should be noted that without Stroud next to him, Henderson was not near the player that he was with Stroud by his side. Aside from Henderson’s dominant play on the field, he was well known in the community for his ridiculous pre game ritual of having a trainer slap him in the face as hard as possible. Henderson was a true delight for Jaguars fans as he helped guide the team to 2 playoff appearances and five plus years of dominant defense.
4. Marcus Stroud. DT. Georgia (2001) - Stroud was selected with the thirteenth overall pick in the 2001 draft. As stated earlier there are many parallels between the careers of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson. They played next to each other for six seasons, terrorizing interior lineman and quarterbacks alike. Both guys are from SEC schools, Tennessee for Henderson and Georgia for Stroud. And they were only drafted a year a part. They even had similar career numbers for the Jaguars. In fact, Henderson had slightly better numbers than Stroud with the Jags. So what separates these two beastly defensive tackles? Honestly, not much. Stroud was dominant without Henderson where as Henderson was never able to dominate without being on the same line as Stroud. Stroud dominated interior lineman for the majority of his career, earning three straight Pro Bowl invitations from ’03 to ’05. Even after he left the Jags to play for the Bills he vastly improved Buffalo’s defensive line for several seasons, whereas Henderson and the Jags defensive line fell apart after they lost Stroud. Honestly they were a great combo and it’s hard to think of them as individuals instead of one disruptive force. During their time in Jax the Jags made the playoffs twice and posted top 5 run defenses three times (Top 11 4 times). Stroud finished his Jaguars career ranked eighth in sacks (22), fifteenth in tackles (274), eleventh in forced fumbles (6), and eleventh in passes defended (23). While Henderson put up more impressive numbers in his career with the Jaguars, it was clear that without Stroud eating up double teams and freeing up space for Henderson he wasn't the same player. In the end they will go down as two of the greatest Jags of all time and will be forever linked, but Stroud was just a little bit better.
3. Blake Bortles. QB. UCF (2014) - I Like Bortles! Bortles was taken with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft. You might be thinking that it is way too early in his career to crown Blake as a top five all time Jaguars 1st round draft pick. It’s not! In only his second year with the team Bortles set Jaguars all time single season records with 355 completions, 606 attempts, 4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns, 277 yards per game, and 72 completions of 20+ yards! In addition to setting all these single season records in only his second year as a pro, he also guided the offense to 376 points in 2015, the fifth most points that the team has ever scored in a season. Bortles has a long way to go as quarterback, but he has the raw skills and the work ethic to quickly become the greatest Jaguar QB of all time. Bortles has the innate ability to make something out of nothing, which makes him that much scarier to opponents. Once Blake develops the pre snap reads and the ability to make better decisions while in the pocket, he will become even more of a threat to opposing defenses and may become one of the best quarterbacks in the entire league. What makes the Jaguars selection of Blake Bortles even more impressive is that it was a bold pick that not many people believed the Jaguars would make. General Manager Dave Caldwell saw what he wanted in a franchise quarterback with Blake Bortles and he assertively made the decision to go with the strong armed kid from UCF. Boy, did it pay off. Sure, Bortles has issues to fix with his game, but he, along the Brothers Allen, gives the franchise and it’s fan base A New Hope (yes, that is a Star Wars reference)!
2. Tony Boselli. LT. USC (1995) - Boselli is arguably the best player to ever don the teal and black of the Jaguars. He was THE dominant left tackle of his time. He is a Hall of Fame Candidate and was the first member of the Pride of the Jaguars. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take it back to the early 1990's. At the University of Southern California Boselli was a THREE time All-American and by far the best lineman in college football. Boselli was the second overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, the first ever Jaguar draft pick, and is considered the greatest Jaguar of all time by many. Boselli immediately made an impact for the then expansion Jacksonville Jaguars. He was elected to five Pro Bowls from 1996 to 2000 and was a three time All-Pro. He was the anchor of the offensive line for some of the best offenses in team history and was truly a man amongst boys, routinely lifting 300 pound beasts off the ground with ease, creating a wall between the defense and the quarterback. Boselli helped propel the youthful Jaguars to two AFC Title games and was the most dominant player in team history. So, why isn't Boselli number one? He only played with the team for seven seasons, before he was forced into shoulder surgery. After his shoulder surgery the Jaguars essentially gave him to the Texans in the expansion draft. Less than two years after he got to Houston Tony was forced by the NFL into early retirement due to his chronic shoulder injuries. Tony said, "From the time I had that first surgery, my [left] shoulder has never been as good as it was before the surgery." Despite his career being cut short, he was clearly the most dominant Jag of all time and belongs in the Hall of Fame. His career achievements were only surpassed by one Jaguar.
1. Fred Taylor. RB. Florida (1998) - Taylor had by far the best career of any Jaguar player ever! Many will always consider Tony Boselli the greatest Jaguar of all time, but the title actually belongs to Fred Taylor. Boselli had a slightly more dominant run with the Jaguars than did Fred, but Freddy T lasted way longer for the Jaguars and was dominant in his own right. Taylor was drafted by the Jaguars with the ninth overall pick in the 1998 draft. The Jaguars acquired this pick by trading the flash in the pan quarterback, Rob Johnson, to the Bills. That trade goes down as arguably one of the greatest steals of all time. Taylor hit the field running in 1998 for the Jaguars, scoring 17 total touchdowns as a rookie. Over the next several years Fred battled through injuries earning him the nickname "Fragile Freddy", but would eventually overcome the injury bug and become a consistent threat for the Jaguars. In his Jaguars career he helped the team reach the playoffs 4 times, amassing 11,271 rushing yards as a Jaguar. In addition to the rushing yards, Taylor added 74 total touchdowns. In 2000, Taylor recorded nine consecutive 100 yard rushing performances, the third longest streak in NFL history! Taylor currently ranks 16th in the NFL in all time rushing yards with a total of 11,695. He also sits with the 25th best yards per rushing attempt of all time (including quarterbacks). Freddy had perhaps the best combination of change of pace moves and power of any running back ever, as was evidenced by the great Jim Brown calling him the best back of his era. Needless to say Fred Taylor is an all time great and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for Taylor he has become used to being snubbed for awards he deserves -- he was only selected to the Pro Bowl one time in his illustrious career and will likely not be considered for the Hall of Fame for some time. In the end all that matters is that we recognize him as the most impactful Jaguar of all time and the greatest Jags first round draft pick there ever was!
Here are some highlights. Sit back and enjoy!
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