JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tony Boselli could be selected as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday when the selection committee meets in Minneapolis. For the second consecutive year, Boselli made the final 15 candidates for the Hall. Last year, he was in the final 10.
Each year, the selection committee chooses five new names to be inducted in Canton. Sam Kouvaris represents Jacksonville and will be the one to present Boselli’s case to the committee.
We will know Saturday afternoon whether the Jaguars have their first-ever Hall of Famer.
But what’s next? Here are the next five Jaguars with the best chances to become Hall of Famers.
Taylor ranks 17th in NFL history in rushing yards. Of the 16 running backs ahead of Taylor on the list, 13 are in the Hall of Fame, two are active-Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson-the other is Edgerrin James, who averaged more than half-a-yard less per carry than Taylor did in his career. Also, considering the proliferation of the passing game, there are few backs likely to pass Taylor on the all-time list. LeSean McCoy still has some good years left in him. He trails Taylor by almost 1,600 yards. Other than McCoy, the other active players are near the end of their careers, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Chris Johnson among them. There is a very strong case to be made for Taylor. Perhaps that case will be made after Boselli gets his spot.
The importance of the wide receiver position has changed as much as the running back position has. In contrast to Taylor’s situation, Smith figures to have his numbers eclipsed by several rising stars. The five-time Pro Bowl selection ranks 22nd in NFL history in receiving yards. Brandon Marshall should pass him in 2018. Players like Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are likely to pass Smith in their careers. That being said, of the 21 players who currently rank ahead of Smith on the all-time receiving yards list, only eight are in the Hall of Fame. The 13 who are not in the Hall include two active players--Larry Fitzgerald and Jason Witten, and two who are finalists this year--Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. Others on the list who should make the Hall include Tony Gonzalez and Andre Johnson. Smith has more receiving yards than Hall of Famers Charlie Joiner, Michael Irvin and Shannon Sharpe. He has a chance, but there are a lot of worthy wide receivers who will likely get in before Smith does.
He directed the Jaguars to a pair of AFC championship games in the franchise’s first five years. Then he won a pair of Super Bowls with the Giants. Those coaching accomplishments, alone, should be enough to make Coughlin a Hall of Famer. But his return to Jacksonville paid immediate dividends as the executive vice president for football operations. His presence, and the way he worked with general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone created the environment that pushed the Jaguars to the third AFC championship game in franchise history. Tom Coughlin is Hall of Fame worthy. It’s only a matter of time. He becomes eligible in 2021.
Mojo is a little longer shot to make the Hall of Fame, but he has two things in his corner: a rushing title and a platform. Jones-Drew ended his career after the 2014 season with 8,187 rushing yards and 81 total touchdowns. The touchdowns are impressive, ranking him tied for 60th all-time. Touchdowns are not always an indicator of Hall-worthiness, but those numbers are pretty good. Jones-Drew will also get some attention because he appears on NFL Network and on the Rams broadcast. Those positions keep him running in NFL circles, which can’t hurt his chances.
Is it too early to call Ramsey a Hall of Fame candidate? Yes, of course. But I’m still doing it. Ramsey has accomplished something that almost nobody in Jaguars history has accomplished: He has become a national figure on a team in one of the league’s smallest markets. His physical talent is unmistakable. In just his second season, he has become the best cornerback in the NFL. He has also become a personality on the national stage. His brash talk-and ability to back it up-are reminiscent of his fellow Florida State alum, Deion Sanders. He has a long way to go, but Ramsey is off to a great start.