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Jaguars Best 2nd-3rd Round Picks

In just a few days, the Jacksonville Jaguars are poised to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. This will be the first time that the franchise has selected at this position, and hopefully for many Jaguars fans, will be the last time, as head coach Urban Meyer and the organizations starts the most important draft in franchise history. The team has had 26 drafts, and as the team embarks on the 27th opportunity to bring in a new class of Jaguars players, I’ve had some thoughts about the best and worst draft picks made by this franchise. No team is perfect with their draft picks, as it is a crapshoot, but it is something that can help shape the team for years to come.

I went back and looked at every draft since the team’s first draft in 1995, and came across the best selections from each round, but also the worst. Prepare yourselves, Jaguars fans, you’ll have some mixed emotions. Without further ado… Let’s continue with the best 2nd and 3rd round selections in franchise history.

The draft selections the franchise has made during the 2nd and 3rd rounds were extremely difficult to rank. I wanted to keep it to 10 players, but I came with 12 outstanding players for the team. So here are two players that deserve an honorable mention, before getting into the best 2nd and 3rd round selections.

Greg Jones (2004 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 55)

As much as it hurts not to put him on the list, it’s harder to not at least recognize him. He was a fullback, sure, but he was easily one of the best fullbacks in the NFL during his time in Jacksonville. He led the way for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. He also was a key part in helping MJD lead the league in rushing in 2011.

Brandon Linder (2014 NFL Draft, Round 3, Pick 93)

Linder has been the team’s starting center since he came into the league in 2014, and has helped the offensive line stay consistent at that position. The only knock on him is that he has only completed one full season in his seven years in the NFL, unlike his predecessor, Brad Meester, who is discussed later.

10. Allen Robinson (2014 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 61)

Even though Allen Robinson played in just 4 seasons (3 if you don’t count the torn ACL suffered in 2017) for the Jags, he is easily on this list for best Day 2 picks in franchise history. The impact that he brought to the offensive side of the ball, along with undrafted free agent Allen Hurns, was immense. Robinson turned out to the best receiver the Jaguars have had on the field since legends Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith last played for the team. Robinson’s 2015 season was his career best, where he led the league in touchdowns and had 1,400 yards receiving. That led to a pro bowl season for Robinson. Unfortunately his last catch as a Jaguar ended in him tearing his ACL and leaving for Chicago in free agency a few months later.

Trevor would throw you better passes than Andy, ARob :(

9. Yannick Ngakoue (2016 NFL Draft, Round 3, Pick 69)

The 2016 Draft was fantastic. The first three rounds produced gems that would all become important parts to the team's success in the years following. Ngakoue earns a spot on this list because he was a nightmare for opponents to deal with when he rushed the passer, accumulating 37.5 sacks in his 4 year career in Jacksonville. That number is good for 2nd all time in franchise history. The relationship between Ngakoue and the team ended on a sour note, much like Ramsey, and he was traded in the summer of 2020.

8. Myles Jack (2016 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 36)

I put Myles Jack above Ngakoue mainly because Jack is still on the team. Now, Jack has definitely done his part in his five-year career and has been a very consistent player, especially as of late. Jack was projected to be a top-10 pick in 2016, but medical issues popped up causing him to fall to Jacksonville in the 2nd round. Jack has been a steal for the team and has gotten better every year since he came to Jacksonville. He got rewarded with a contract extension in 2019, so he is expected to be a part of the team for another few years. Honestly, if he keeps playing well, it would be hard to see him leave the team. I expect Jack to take the next step this upcoming year and make a Pro Bowl, and possibly an All-Pro season with the new defensive staff coming.

7. Aaron Beasley (1996 NFL Draft, Round 3, Pick 63)

20 years prior to the 2016 NFL Draft, the Jaguars struck gold in each of the first 3 rounds. After selecting Kevin Hardy in the 1st round, two other big time selections for the franchise came next. One of them was Aaron Beasley, who was a key contributor to not only the 1996 playoff run, but also the 3 consecutive playoff appearances after that. He was a huge reason why the Jaguars had the best record in the NFL in 1999. He had six interceptions with two of them being returned touchdowns. He ended his career in Jacksonville in 2001 with 15 interceptions. At the time, that was at the top in franchise history; now he currently stands 2nd in franchise history behind someone else on this list.

6. Vince Manuwai (2003 NFL Draft, Round 3, Pick 72)

The Jaguars had to rebuild this team, and adding Manuwai was a key part of the rebuild. Manuwai, along with Khalif Barnes, Brad Meester (who is discussed next), Maurice Williams, and Tony Pashos, helped develop one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the league. Without these 5, the playoff runs in 2005 and 2007 do not happen. Manuwai was the leader along with Meester. Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor ran behind Manuwai often during that 2007 run. Manuwai was underappreciated as a Jaguar. RIP Vince.

Hey MJD, follow me!

5. Brad Meester (2000 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 60)

Mr. Dependable. Mr. Jaguar. After missing horribly with R. Jay Soward, they righted the ship with Brad Meester in the 2000 NFL Draft. He was extremely durable as he only missed 15 games over 13 seasons as the team’s starting center. He played his entire career in Jacksonville, which lasted 14 years and 209 games, both franchise records. He was the heart of the offensive line.

4. Daryl Smith (2004 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 39)

The Jaguars had some success in this draft with the aforementioned Greg Jones, but Daryl Smith was the prize of the draft. Daryl Smith is easily the most underrated and underappreciated Jaguar of all time. Smith was a quiet individual but he let his play do the talking. There was never a moment where fans were upset with Smith on missed assignments or defensive lapses. He was always around the football. He could rush the passer, stop the run, and drop back in coverage. When he left Jacksonville, he was the franchise leader in tackles, but was surpassed by Paul Posluszny. Daryl Smith is not only a top selection from the 2nd round, but also one of the franchise greats.

3. Rashean Mathis (2003 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 39)

Picking between number 2 and 3 on this list was difficult. I went with Rashean Mathis at number 3. Mathis is easily the best defensive back that has donned a Jaguars uniform. He was an exceptional athlete and had some incredibly clutch moments. There are countless moments to pick from. Just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers how many times Mathis cost them a victory. Not only was Mathis a fan-favorite due to his play, but he was also a local product. He went to college at Bethune-Cookman, and went to high school at nearby Englewood. Mathis currently holds four franchise records, including career interceptions with 30. Mathis is forever a fan-favorite and will be known as the Steeler-killer.

Lol at Ben on the ground.

2. Tony Brackens (1996 NFL Draft, Round 2 Pick 33)

It’s incredibly difficult to sort through and rank these franchise legends. Putting Brackens over Mathis was difficult, but the Jaguars have had success drafting a cornerback since drafting Mathis (Jalen Ramsey). However, the Jaguars have not had a pass rusher as dominant as Brackens. They have tried to select the next great franchise pass-rusher since Brackens retired after the 2003 season (Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, Dante Fowler Jr.). They did have success with the selection of Yannick Ngakoue, but that success was short-lived. Brackens played 8 seasons in Jacksonville and produced 55 sacks. He was a very consistent pass rusher for the team and many believed he was on a Hall of Fame pace before injuries piled up and cut his career short. Brackens is a legend here in Jacksonville, and with good reason.

1. Maurice Jones-Drew (2006 NFL Draft, Round 2, Pick 60)

The fact that all 32 teams in the NFL passed on this man, including the Jaguars is a shame. Maurice Jones-Drew was the best running back selected in this draft and it isn’t even up for debate. There were countless memories with Jones-Drew. There was the block on Shawne Merriman. There was the 375-yard destruction he and Fred Taylor laid on the Colts. There was the rushing title in 2011. How about the time when MJD was knocked down to the ground against the Patriots and had the awareness to get back up and run it to the endzone because he wasn’t touched down by a Patriot player. There was the 2007 playoff game against the Steelers where he returned a kickoff 96 yards. MJD brought Jaguars fans joy, especially during some dark times as Jaguars fans. MJD, without a doubt, is the top player ever selected in the 2nd or 3rd round by the Jaguars.

2011 was MJD's year; First Team All Pro and Pro Bowl selection.

Part 4 of this 5 part series - the worst 2nd & 3rd round draft picks - drops Tuesday, 4/27.

Is Mike’s list accurate? What would you change? Tweet at us (@dimesonduval) or find us on Facebook or Instagram and drop your thoughts!

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