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Sunday, 8 February 2015

Jacksonville Jaguars: Biggest Draft Day Regret In Franchise History

What do JJ Watt of the Houston Texans, Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams, Mike Pouncey of the Miami Dolphins and Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins all have in common besides being stars in the NFL?

All four have been to a Pro Bowl and all four are players the Jacksonville Jaguars could have taken instead of trading up to the No. 10th spot to grab “can’t miss” quarterback, Blaine Gabbert.

For all of you Jaguars fans, I will let that one sink in. For a decade now, the Jaguars have needed a Superman-like pass rusher and a franchise quarterback. The 2011 Draft brought them neither and will continue to haunt this team until Blake Bortles proves he is every bit as good as Ben Roethlisberger. The truth is the Jaguars have proven over the last 20 years they have not been able to name good choices when it comes to loading a roster with future talent. Hopefully, the recent draft success of Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley will change that.

The pick was so poor for the team, it has been questioned as one of the worst Top 10 picks of the modern era. That’s hard to define given the fact Jake Locker and Christian Ponder were both part of that first round draft class and the 1999 Draft Class brought us the likes of Akili Smith, Tim Couch and Cade McNown.

But in the eyes of Jaguars fans, Gabbert is the one that stands out. But he is not alone.

The team has used four first round picks on wide receivers that have not panned out in the league – not because of ability, but because of substance abuse.

R Jay Soward, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Justin Blackmon were all selected in the first round of the Draft and all four have been affected by substance abuse. The jury is still out on Blackmon, who has been serving a league imposed suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. His return to the team, which appears to be set for this season, could be a deciding factor in how far the Jaguars offense, under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, can travel.

For the meantime, Jacksonville will hope for the best with its new bumper crop of players. It will hope Bortles is the real thing. It will hope the receivers the team picked last season – Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee and Allen Hurns all turn out to be the studs they showed life of being.

And somewhere in the back of every fans’ mind they will remember the blunders of drafts gone by and pray to the heavens the team will never make a mistake like Blaine Gabbert again.


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