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Jaguars draft ’21: The best, worst top 10 selections in franchise history

From Boselli and Taylor to Gabbert and Harvey, Jaguars have had their hits and misses high in the draft

Tony Boselli (71) was the No. 2 selection in the 1995 draft. Blaine Gabbert was the No. 10 selection in the 2011 draft.
Tony Boselli (71) was the No. 2 selection in the 1995 draft. Blaine Gabbert was the No. 10 selection in the 2011 draft. (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are on the NFL draft clock and picking high once again.

While the franchise has never held the No. 1 pick before this year, picking high has been a familiar sight for Jacksonville fans.

Eighteen times in franchise history, the Jaguars have made selections in the top 10. A couple of those times, they traded to get there. Others, they were just bad and earned those high draft picks. Who were the best and worst among those top 10 selections?

News4Jax takes a look at all 18 of those players and picks the top and bottom five.

The best

Year: Pick Position Player (School)

1995: 2. OT Tony Boselli (Southern Cal)

The expansion Jaguars wanted to build a stout offensive line and started with Boselli. He was a mainstay at left tackle from 1995 until 2001 and has been a hall of fame finalist the past five years. Injuries cut his career short, but Boselli is regarded by many as the best player in franchise history.

1998: 9. RB Fred Taylor (Florida)

One of the most popular and iconic players in franchise history. The Jaguars used a pick acquired in their trade of QB Rob Johnson to choose Taylor. He became arguably the best player in franchise history. Taylor rushed for 11,271 yards in Jacksonville and 80 TDs in 11 years. His Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy has picked up momentum in recent years.

2002: 9. DT John Henderson (Tennessee)

A massive tackle alongside Marcus Stroud, Henderson started 125 games in his eight-year career with the Jaguars and was extremely durable. Totaled 29 sacks and recovered five fumbles in Jacksonville and garnered a couple Pro Bowl nods (2004, ’06).

2016: 5. CB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)

The way Ramsey left town skewed just how good of a player that he was when was in town. Ramsey started all 16 games his first three seasons in Jacksonville, earning Pro Bowl honors in 2017-18 and an All-Pro nod, too. He had nine picks and 193 tackles before being traded to the Rams in 2019 after feigning a back injury following a run in with Jaguars management.

1996: 2. LB Kevin Hardy (Illinois)

Five hall of fame selections went after Hardy in this exceptionally deep draft. He started 128 of a possible 134 games in his career in town, finishing with 740 combined tackles, seven fumble recoveries and five interceptions. He was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection in 1999.

The worst

Year: Pick Position Player (School)

2011: 10. QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)

Jacksonville traded up six spots to draft their QB of the future. Gabbert lasted three seasons in Jacksonville, played under three different head coaches and went 5-22 as a starter (22 TDs, 24 INT). Caldwell sent Gabbert to San Francisco (current Jaguars GM Trent Baalke traded for Gabbert) in 2014 for a sixth-round pick. He did, however, win a Super Bowl ring as Tom Brady’s backup in Tampa Bay.

2008: 8. DE Derrick Harvey (Florida)

He held out to start his career and then underwhelmed when he was on the field. Harvey last just three seasons in town and was cut in 2011. Harvey had all of eight sacks in his Jaguars career.

2015: 3. DE Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida)

Fowler missed his rookie season to a torn ACL and managed to start just one regular season game during his career in Jacksonville. He was traded to the Rams after seven games in 2018. Fowler had 53 total tackles and 14 sacks with the Jaguars.

2012: 5. WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)

He had amazing potential and showcased that when he was on the field. Blackmon had 865 yards receiving and five TDs as a rookie and started four games the following year between suspensions for substance abuse issues. Blackmon never played for the team again after his second suspension in 2013.

2013: 2. Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M)

The 2013 draft is one of the worst in recent memory. It was also the first with general manager Dave Caldwell running things in Jacksonville. Joeckel was dubbed Baby Boselli early, but never came close to anything more than just average. He broke his ankle in his fifth game of his rookie season. While Joeckel recovered to start 34 more games in his Jaguars career, the Jaguars declined his fifth-year option and he was out of the NFL by 2018.

Jaguars top 10 draft selections

Year: Pick Position Player (School)

2020: 9. CB C.J. Henderson (Florida)

2019: 7. DE/OLB Josh Allen (Kentucky)

2017: 4. RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)

2016: 5. CB Jalen Ramsey (Florida State)

2015: 3. DE Dante Fowler (Florida)

2014: 3. QB Blake Bortles (Central Florida)

2013: 2. Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M)

2012: 5. WR Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State)

2011: 10. QB Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)

2010: 10. DT Tyson Alualu (California)

2009: 8. OT Eugene Monroe (Virginia)

2008: 8. DE Derrick Harvey (Florida)

2004: 9. WR Reggie Williams (Washington)

2003: 7. QB Byron Leftwich (Marshall)

2002: 9. DT John Henderson (Tennessee)

1998: 9. RB Fred Taylor (Florida)

1996: 2. LB Kevin Hardy (Illinois)

1995: 2. OT Tony Boselli (Southern Cal)


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.