JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the Jaguars' 23 drafts, there have been a few surprises. Some have worked in the Jaguars favor, while others did not. Here are the top 10 biggest surprises in Jaguars draft history.
Eugene Monroe falls into the Jaguars lap
Going into the 2009 draft, the Jaguars needed help on both the offensive and defensive lines. Three top offensive line prospects were projected to go early in the first round-Jason Smith of Baylor, Andre Smith from Alabama and Eugene Monroe from Virginia. Almost all of the mock drafts had all three going in the top seven. The Jaguars held the eighth pick. When Kansas City selected LSU defensive end Tyson Jackson with the third pick, it opened up a chance for one of the tackles to fall. With Monroe still on the board at No. 7, the Raiders surprised everyone by taking Maryland speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey. That allowed the Jaguars to pick Monroe, who would play four years for the Jaguars, then finish his career with three seasons in Baltimore. None of the big three offensive tackles ever made a Pro Bowl.
Matt Jones is selected as a wide receiver
SEC fans who saw Jones run roughshod through opposing defenses may have had some dreams of him becoming a Randy Moss-type of wide receiver. The only problem was that he really didn't want to play wide receiver. That didn't keep the Jaguars from selecting Jones with the 21st pick of the 2005 draft. Jones ran a 4.37 at the combine, and Jaguars personnel boss Shack Harris fell in love with the thought of Jones as a big, fast target for Leftwich. It didn't work out. In four seasons in the NFL, Jones never caught more than 65 passes and scored only 15 touchdowns. What followed was a sad decline of a former college star. Substance abuse led to his release from the Jaguars in 2009. He had a tryout with the Bengals but didn't make the cut.
Tyson Alualu is the first-round pick
2010 was the Tim Tebow draft. With Gator Nation and Tebow devotees calling for the Jaguars to draft the former Nease quarterback, the Jaguars instead spent the 10th pick of the draft on California defensive tackle Tyson Alualu. The big Hawaiian has enjoyed a long and steady career, but never lived up to the expectations of a top 10 pick. Some of that could have been attributed to a knee injury suffered in the Oklahoma drill in his rookie training camp. Alualu remained on the Jaguars roster until after the 2016 season, when he was let go. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a two-year deal. In eight seasons, Alualu has missed only two games.
When the Jaguars were preparing for the 2016 draft, two names kept coming up as potential big targets: Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. The Jaguars were more than pleased to draft Ramsey with the fifth pick of the draft. When the second round began with Jack still on the board, the Jaguars had the 38th pick, the fifth pick in the round. Fearing that someone else would jump up to select the UCLA linebacker, the Jaguars sent a their second-round pick and a fifth-round pick to Baltimore to move up two spots to select Jack. The surprise was that nobody else was willing to take a chance on a player with first-round talent, because of his knee injury.
The following year, the Jaguars again struck gold in the second round. After selecting Leonard Fournette in the first round, the Jaguars again moved up in the second round-only by one spot-sending their second-round pick and a sixth-round pick to Seattle to move to 35 from 36 to select the Alabama tackle. At one time, Robinson was considered a potential top-15 pick. Instead, the Jaguars got him in the second round. He became a starter as a rookie at left tackle.
Jaguars get Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson
Continuing the theme of trading up in the second round to get a player, the Jaguars had already drafted Blake Bortles with the third-overall pick of the 2014 draft and selected Marqise Lee with their second-round selection, when general manager Dave Caldwell got crafty. The Jaguars sent their third-round pick and a fifth-rounder to San Francisco to move into the 61st pick to select Robinson. Interestingly, their other fifth-round pick that year was a linebacker from Florida State named Telvin Smith. Both Robinson and Smith would eventually earn Pro Bowl invitations.
Randy Chevrier and David Leaverton
In the 2001 draft, the Jaguars found a pair of very good players in the first two rounds when they drafted defensive tackle Marcus Stroud and tackle Maurice Williams. Both would become long-term starters. But two other picks raised eyebrows. In the fifth round, the Jaguars selected punter David Leaverton from Tennessee. Leaverton would be beaten out in training camp by street free agent Chris Hanson. In the seventh round, the Jaguars selected Randy Chevrier from McGill University in Montreal to be a long snapper. Chevrier also failed to make the regular season roster. He did, however, get a look from both Dallas and Cincinnati in the NFL.
Speaking of punters, six years later, the Jaguars selected a punter in the fourth round, Adam Podlesh, who did well for the team. Then, in 2012, the Jaguars selected Bryan Anger with a third-round pick. While Anger had moderate success with the Jaguars, the players the Jaguars passed on became the albatross around the neck of the franchise. Among the players who were selected later in the third round: Russell Wilson, Nick Foles and T.Y. Hilton. Kirk Cousins was a fourth-round pick that year.
One of the more mercurial players to ever wear a Jaguars uniform, Williams was the first-round pick the year after Byron Leftwich was selected. The theory at the time was to surround Leftwich with playmakers on offense. Williams was the ninth pick of the draft--the third wide receiver selected after Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Williams. He lasted five season with the Jaguars, and never caught another pass in the NFL after the Jaguars released him in 2009. There were 15 Pro Bowl players taken in the first round of the draft. Williams was not one of them.
Jaguars find seed of the future in first draft
Nobody was surprised that the Jaguars took Tony Boselli in the first draft in team history, 1995. Nor was it a surprise that Boselli went on to an All-Pro career. But in the fourth round, the Jaguars held the first pick. With it, Tom Coughlin selected Rob Johnson. Johnson would start only one game for the Jaguars, but Jacksonville would trade him to the Bills in exchange for a first round pick and a fourth-round pick in the 1998 draft. That first-round pick would become Fred Taylor.