Unlike the quarterback position, the running back position has had some stellar performers over the years for the Jags. Since its inception, this franchise has been devoted to a west coast, run-first offense for much of its existence. This smash mouth, old school style, has been the driving force on the offensive side of the ball in all three AFC Championship appearances in team history. A position of consistency for this franchise, two backs combined to man the position for 17 of the teams 25 years in existence, and racked up 19,342 yards. Here are the three greatest running backs in franchise history.
1. Fred Taylor: Fred Taylor is by far the greatest running back to ever grace the field for the Jaguars. Drafted 9th overall in 1998 out of the University of Florida, Taylor possessed a stellar combo of speed, power, and elusiveness. He has the agility to make guys miss, and the breakaway speed to take any run to the house. Freddy T racked up 11,271 yards with the Jags between 1998-2008. He also found the endzone 70 times. Taylor struggled with staying healthy early in his career and only played a full season twice, during a back to back stretch from 2002-2003. Taylor would have had a realistic shot at 13,000 career yards had he not missed so much time due to injuries. He holds over 40 team records and was the second player inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars in 2012.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew: A no brainer here as MJD is hands down the second-best running back to take the field in teal. Jones-Drew formed a backfield tandem with Fred Taylor from 2006-2008. During that time, the Jaguars had one of the best one-two punches in NFL history. Drafted out of UCLA in 2006, Jones-Drew was a 5 foot 7-inch wrecking ball. He had the speed to break away from defenses and was one of the hardest backs to bring down. Putting up over 8,000 yards in his Jaguars career, MJD averaged 4.5 yards per carry. He was voted to three Pro Bowls and is still the only Jaguars player to ever capture the rushing title, doing so in 2011.
3. Leonard Fournette: Lastly, we have the current backfield stud, Leonard Fournette. This really shows how little the backfield has undergone changes over the last 25 years. However, after Jones-Drew left for Oakland in free agency prior to the 2014 season, the team struggled to find a bell-cow back for a few years. That is until they took the former LSU star at 4th overall in 2017. Early into his career, Fournette has made his presence felt. A stellar rookie season helped propel the Jaguars to the AFC title game. He has eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in 2 of his first three years in the league. Listed at 6’0 and 230 pounds, he needs just 320 yards to cement his place as the third leading rusher in franchise history. His future with the team beyond this year is seriously in question; regardless, he deserves to be on this list.
There’s only one honorable mention for this group, and that is the franchise’s first running back James Stewart. Three out of the next four leaders in franchise rushing yards are quarterbacks.
Next up, we will be taking a look at the best players to ever play tight end in Jacksonville.
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